The Tunisian-EU feud over the migration deal continues to escalate, with the North African country returning €60 million in EU budget support on October 9.
Kais Saied had described the budgetary support as nothing more than “charity,” according to a report from The National.
“The Commission has been informed that Tunisia returned the payment of €60 million,” the representative told The National.
Despite returning the fund, the two parties will continue their bilateral cooperation under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in July of this year.
The recent development “does not change the fact that we continue working on the five pillars of the MoU,” the EU representative added.
EU’s deal with Tunisia is worth an overall €1 billion and covers trade and sustainable energy in addition to border control.
The future of the MoU is in doubt as Tunisia’s president has turned down a total of €127 million from the EU.
Tunisia “accepts cooperation but not charity,” he said.
The budget included €67 million for coast guards to restrict the flow of immigrants to Europe and €60 million in aid.
On October 5, the EU’s Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Policies said on social media that Tunisia was welcome to return the funds.
He added that the implementation of the MoU should continue “once Tunisia returns to the spirit of our strategic and comprehensive partnership based on mutual respect.”