In the middle of the week, during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Social Democrats, the Left and the Greens shouted to the sky, describing a “completely unacceptable” partnership agreement closed before the summer between European Union and Tunisia designed by consists of the number of immigrants from the North African country and protect the Mediterranean route. “Does not respect the law of human rights “said the president of the social democrats, Iratxe Garcia. This Friday the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, joined the debate by asking the European Commission to provide “clarity” and information on the effects of the agreement for human rights. Brussels now has three months, until December 13, to respond.
On July 18, after weeks of negotiations, the EU and Tunisia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that included provisions on fight against irregular immigration and financial support to develop border management from a country that has become a starting point for thousands of people trying to cross the central Mediterranean. In total, 785 million euros, of which 105 million will go to training, border control and fighting mafias of human traffickers.
Leading the European delegation is the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen accompanied by the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni and the acting Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. “In times of geopolitical uncertainty, it is important to deepen cooperation with our strategic partners,” the German said in a statement without question.
“Two months after the signing we don’t see much implementation,” the Dutchman from the EPP complained in the middle of the week. Jeroen Lenaers. “The agreement only causes more repression, more deaths and more migration,” added the environmentalist. Tine Strik. These critical voices were joined this Friday by O’Reilly, who in a letter to the Community Executive asked how the Community Executive intends to “guarantee respect for human rights” in relation to the agreement between the EU and Tunisia.
Suspension of financing
“Under the MoU, the EU will provide 105 million euros for training and technical support for the management of Tunisian borders, to combat operations against smuggling and to strengthen border control,” explained this organization in a statement in which it echoed the concerns that created by the agreement. The Ombudsman also asked the Commission if it carried out a human rights impact assessment before signing and if it plans to carry out a periodic review of possible human rights impacts .
O’Reilly also asked the Commission whether it had set criteria for suspending funding when human rights were not respected. The request for information, to which Brussels must respond before December 13, comes after the opening of a new investigation aimed at clarifying the role of Frontex in search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
According to the latest data published in external border control agency, Frontex coming through central Mediterranean route, the main entry route into European territory, continues to rise and grow. Between January and August of this year, there were 114,625 came through this route, which means an increase of 96% and the highest figure since 2016. The Frontex analysis confirms that Mediterranean crossings represent half of all arrivals (232,350) and points out that “it is possible that “The increased migratory pressure on this route will continue In the coming months as smugglers offer lower prices to migrants leaving Libya and Tunisia amid intense competition between criminal groups .”