127 Million Euros Of Refugee Aid From The EU To Tunisia

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The European Union (EU) pressed the button for the first financial aid of 127 million euros after the memorandum of understanding signed with Tunisia in July. In the statement made by the EU Commission, it was noted that the first tranche of aid will be paid in the coming days, 67 million euros of which is envisaged for the fight against human traffickers and 60 million euros for supporting the Tunisian economy. The EU-Tunisia agreement aims to prevent refugee migration to the EU via Tunisia and support the Tunisian economy, which is in danger of bankruptcy.

EU Commission spokesperson Ana Pisonero stated that the migration agreement aims at close cooperation between the EU and Tunisia and a tough fight against illegal human trafficking networks, and noted that within the framework of the agreement, Tunisia will prevent asylum seekers’ attempts to cross to Europe by sea and undertake the task of sending them back to their countries. The spokesman also emphasized that international law will be respected during this process.

Border Protection And Budget Assistance

The memorandum, which was signed on July 16 and is a declaration of intent, foresees 105 million euros of financial resources in the field of border protection, as well as 150 million euros of budget aid to the country, which is under a large debt burden. In the agreement, a resource of 900 million euros, mainly loans, was announced in the long term, if the conditions were met.

However, the agreement signed with Tunisia has also been the target of intense criticism. While human rights organizations accuse the EU of doing “dirty work” with the authoritarian government in Tunisia, some argue that the agreement is insufficient, pointing to the increase in crossings through the Mediterranean.

Passages From The Mediterranean Also Increased In June

As a matter of fact, statistics show that the number of people crossing to EU countries via the Mediterranean has increased compared to 2022. According to the latest data announced by the European Statistical Agency Eurostat, the number of asylum applications made to EU countries in June increased by 25 percent compared to June 2022. A total of 83 thousand 385 asylum applications were made to EU countries in June this year.

In June 2023, Syrians took the lead in asylum applications with 13 thousand 150 people, followed by citizens of Afghanistan with 7 thousand 775 people, Venezuelan citizens with 6 thousand 925 people and Colombian citizens with 6 thousand 165 people. 75 percent of asylum applications to EU countries were made to Germany, Spain, France and Italy. In the ranking made according to population density, EU members Cyprus and Austria took the lead in asylum applications.

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