Olivér Várhelyi, the commissioner for neighbourhood policy and enlargement, said the European Union, EU member states and Mediterranean countries must develop mutually beneficial cooperation to stop illegal migration.
Várhelyi told MTI that he had visited Tunisia on Monday, accompanied by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, as well as European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson. The purpose of the visit was to present to Tunisian authorities the EC’s new approach which is based on the assumption that long-term cooperation must be based on mutual benefits, he said.
Várhelyi said the EU is willing to further increase support to Tunisia if the country cooperates in areas of special importance to the EU, such as stopping illegal migration. He added that the visit was successful and the Tunisian side expressed an understanding of the problems raised. Ten million euros of extra support was offered to Tunisia to properly equip border protection forces, including the coastal guard, to stop the departure of illegal migrants, he said.
He added that the sides were in agreement that the situation also posed a danger to Tunisia because criminal groups that organize the movement of migrants could also undermine security in the country.
Photo credit: Népszava