MEPs clashed over the European Union’s migration deal with Tunisia, reports EU-funded news outlet, Euronews, September 12.
On September 12, a heated debate broke out among members from all sides of the political spectrum as some claimed that since an agreement reached with the North African country back in July, the numbers of migrants coming from the region have risen.
The debate took place in a plenary session in the EU parliament’s headquarters in Strasbourg, a French city at the France-Germany border.
On September 14, some MEPs were blocked from entering Tunisia following members’ criticisms of the agreement.
The controversial deal includes 105 million Euros of aid from the European Union to tackle migration, leaving from Tunisia and making the often-dangerous route to European shores.
The healthy sum was invested in stronger border security and the clamping down on people smuggling operations.
The Maghreb country is currently suffering from a financial crisis, shortages of items such as bread, sugar and rice have resulted in Tunisia having to rely on financial support from abroad, further straining its finances.
The EU-Tunisia migrant deal was strongly condemned by the United Nations. In early August, UN-Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres demanded that Tunisia stops kicking migrants out to desert areas as well as calling for those living in harsh conditions to be relocated.
Tineke Strik of the Greens group was critical of the deal signed in July.
Strik, a Dutch member of the European parliament, stated, “The deal has only led to more repression, more deaths, and even more migration.”.
Jeroen Lenaers of the European People’s Party (EPP) questioned the effectiveness of the agreement. He noted that, “Two months after the signing ceremony, we don’t see much implementation,”
However, the centre-right EPP’s leader, Manfred Weber claimed that a rise in migration numbers to Europe was going to happen immediately after the signing of the deal, before numbers eventually decrease.
Lenaers added, “Arrivals continue to increase, and on the ground in Tunisia we see little development.”.
The EU has previously said it wants the deal with Tunisia to become a curtain raiser for similar agreements with other North African nations.