EU wish to ‘step up’ cooperation on migration with Tunisia

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European leaders visiting Tunisia Sunday (June 11) held out the promise of more than 1 billion euros in financial aid as well as investments in undersea data cables and renewable energy in an effort to stem migration from its shores to Europe and restore economic stability to the North African country.
Tunisia president hosted the leaders of Italy, the Netherlands and the European Commission for talks aimed at smoothing the way for an international financial bailout of the increasingly troubled country.
Support from Tunisian President Kais Saied is crucial to any European Union deal to curb migration. On the eve of the talks, Saied made an unannounced visit to a migrant camp in the coastal city of Sfax, a central jumping-off point for boat journeys crossing the Mediterranean to Italy.
Saied spoke with families living in the camp, and pleaded for international aid for Africans who converge on Tunisia as a transit point to reach Europe. He added his country was not the keeper of Europe’s borders.
His words, and sympathetic images posted on the president’s Facebook page, contrasted sharply with Saied’s stance earlier this year, when he stoked racist abuse of Black African migrants in Tunisia with a speech railing against a perceived plot to erase his country’s Arab identity.