” In support of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a strategic and comprehensive partnership between the EU and Tunisia, the European Commission announces a 60 million euro budget support package for Tunisia and a migration operational assistance package worth around 67 million euros, to be disbursed in the coming days, contracted and delivered rapidly respectively, according to a press release from the Commission of the European Union published on Friday.
This follows Thursday’s telephone conversation between Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy, and Nabil Ammar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the importance of continuing to implement the MoU, in particular, the priority actions.
The Commission also stated that a delegation of Commission officials would visit Tunisia next week to discuss the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, in particular the priority actions.
The Commission is stepping up implementation of ongoing programmes and planned actions under the new €105 million migration support programme linked to the Memorandum of Understanding, which will help address the emergency situation in Lampedusa, in line with the 10-point plan for Lampedusa.
“This new package will re-equip search and rescue vessels, vehicles and other equipment for the Tunisian coastguard and navy, protect migrants in Tunisia in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and ensure the return and reintegration of migrants from Tunisia to their countries of origin, in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The provision of new vessels, thermal imaging cameras and other forms of operational assistance, as well as the necessary training, are also planned.
“The EU and Tunisia are committed to making rapid progress in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, giving priority to actions in the field of migration, cooperation to crack down on smuggling networks and the intensification of EU assistance to build the capacity of Tunisian law enforcement authorities, as well as support for the voluntary return and reintegration of migrants in their countries of origin, in full respect of international law,” says the statement.