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S&Ds: EU must reconsider agreement on migration with Tunisia: it doesn't work and neglects democracy and human rights

Date

12 Sep 2023

Sections

Global Europe

On 16 July 2023, the EU and Tunisia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at outsourcing the EU migratory policy to a third country, the authoritarian regime of Kais Saied. The S&D Group strongly criticises the content and the method resulting in the signature of the MoU – with no involvement of the European Parliament but in the presence of Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte. This Memorandum must be revised as it fails to address all concerns related to human rights, including the rights of migrants and asylum seekers as well as the continued deterioration and deepening of the crackdown on opposition.

S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs, Pedro Marques, said:

"The challenges mount: democracy, rule of law, human rights under siege; media, opposition, speech rights restricted; surge in racist attacks on black migrants. Despite all of this, with no involvement of the EU Parliament nor transparency on how the EU funds will be spent, the European Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tunisian President, Kais Saied.

“The S&D Group had a strong wish for this debate to say clearly in Plenary: The EU cannot fund an authoritarian regime to externalise the management of migration just to please right-wing forces in Europe.

“This is not the way to face migration; this is not the way we want EU foreign policy to be run.  We should instead support democracy and engage with the Tunisian civil society that is the closest to Europe in the region. The Commission should reconsider the EU-Tunisia agreement and make it comply with the treaty's goal of defending human rights and democracy.”

S&D vice-president responsible for home affairs, Gaby Bischoff, added:

“The EU-Tunisia Memorandum of Understanding takes too simplistic an approach to one of the biggest challenges the EU is currently facing. Paying autocrats to prevent migration to the EU will not provide stable and long-term solutions to the EU's internal problems on asylum and migration policy.

“With the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, we have the chance to agree on a common migration policy based on our core EU values and on solidarity, both towards people seeking protection in the EU and towards member states through a predictable and mandatory relocation mechanism.

“The EU should stop externalising an internal problem by paying a high price to yet another third country to prevent migration to the EU.”

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