Members of the European Parliament express anger at EU-Tunisia migrant deal

Members of the European Parliament express anger at EU-Tunisia migrant deal
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Tunisia's President Kais Saied and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the signing of the migrant deal in Tunis, July 2023

Members of the European Parliament are becoming increasingly frustrated with the European Commission's decision to allocate €150 million to Tunisia, according to a report in the EU Observer. Speaking to reporters in Strasbourg last week, MEPs said they had effectively been sidelined from their oversight role. 

Renew Europe's liberal MEP Karen Melchior said "We are being continually ignored," adding that conditions linked to the disbursement of EU funds to Tunisia were not being respected.

The EU sent funds to Tunisia after agreeing to a migrant deal last July, in which the North African country undertook to clamp down on migrant boats leaving its shores for Europe. 

Soon after signing the deal, Tunisian President Kais Saied caused a row after he refused entry to a European Parliament delegation charged with overseeing the accord. Saied also cancelled a planned visit by senior European Commission officials. 

Despite the displeasure among some MEPs, the deal with Tunisia remains a template for future accords to reduce the number of migrant boats heading to Europe, and Italy in particular.

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