Tunisian President Kais Saied made it known late on Monday evening that Tunisia had refused the funds allocated by the European Union in its favour. “Tunisia, which accepts cooperation, does not accept charity or alms. Our country and our people do not want pity, but demand respect” reads the statement from the Tunisian presidency. “Tunisia – explains Saied – rejects what was announced in recent days by the EU, not because of the paltry amount in question, because all the wealth of the world is not worth a gram of our sovereignty, but because the proposal contradicts the memorandum of understanding signed in Tunis in the spirit that prevailed at the Rome conference last July”. Saied finally added that his country “does everything possible to dismantle the criminal networks of human trafficking”. The announcement comes after, in mid-September, Saied had denied entry into the country to a delegation from the European Parliament and, a few days later, he had asked for an end to “meddling in the internal affairs” of the country.
The aid allocated by the EU
The European Commission announced on 22 September that it would begin to “rapidly” disburse the funds provided for in the agreement with Tunisia to reduce the arrivals of migrants from this country. The Commission specified that of the 105 million euros of aid foreseen by the agreement to combat irregular immigration, around 42 million euros would be “rapidly allocated”. To these funds must be added 24.7 million euros already foreseen under the ongoing programs. According to the European Commission, the aid must be used in part to rehabilitate the boats used by the Tunisian coast guard and to cooperate with international organizations both for the “protection of migrants” and for the repatriation operations of these exiles from Tunisia to their countries of origin. origin. origin. The memorandum of understanding between Tunisia and the EU also provides for state budget aid of 150 million euros in 2023 as the country faces serious economic difficulties. Tunisia is, together with Libya, the main point of departure for thousands of migrants who cross the central Mediterranean towards Europe and arrive in Italy.