Commissioners Johansson and Várhelyi in Tunisia© European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service, Olivér Várhelyi
Today, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, and Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, together with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, and Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, are in Tunis. They are meeting with the Tunisian President, Kais Saied, the designated Head of Government, Hichem Mechichi, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim, Selma Ennaifer. The aim of the visit is to reaffirm the joint commitment to a strong EU-Tunisia partnership, covering political and economic relations as well as cooperation in the field of migration. Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: ”The coronavirus pandemic exacerbates many challenges faced by Tunisia, including the number of people taking dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean. We are committed to cooperation between the EU and Tunisia that promotes regular migration, legal pathways for Tunisians to come to Europe and working together on return and readmission. This can help us manage migration in an orderly way. Strategic partnerships with countries outside the EU will be a key part of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum.” Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, added: “Tunisia is a key partner for the European Union in the Southern Neighbourhood. We are committed to its prosperity and stability and are ready to further develop our partnership to the benefit of both Tunisia and the EU. We stand by the country in the fight against the pandemic, providing considerable funds on top of our regular bilateral assistance of €300 million per year. Structural reforms will be crucial for a successful economic recovery and we are ready to support them. We are also discussing with our Tunisian partners how to strengthen our fight against illegal migration.” In addition to financial assistance and development funding, the EU and Tunisia cooperate on a broad-range of policy areas and opportunities, including under EU’s initiatives such as Creative Europe, Erasmus+ or Horizon 2020. Further details on EU cooperation with Tunisia is available here.