Sub-saharan migrants camp in front of the International Organization for Migration office as they seek shelter and protection amidst attacks on them, in Tunis, Tunisia, Thursday, March 2, 2023.InternationalIndiaAfricaMuhammad Nooh OsmanWriter/EditorThe illegal migration crisis in Tunisia has been a growing concern in recent years, as hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa attempt to make their way to Europe through Tunisia via boat. With recent reports of an increase in migrant deaths, the issue has gained renewed attention.Mahmoud ben Mabrouk, the official representative of the Tunisian pro-presidential 25th of July Movement, has accused European Union countries of being responsible for the migration crisis in Tunisia, according to his statement to Sputnik.Per the politician, EU countries are attempting to impose their vision of governing the country on Tunisian President Kais Saied.
"For Tunisia to accept their conditions and dictate. They wanted to influence us, to promote the policy they needed. They use the opposition for this… The president rejected these attempts," Ben Mabrouk said.
The Tunisian politician noted that Western countries are currently using any issue concerning Tunisian domestic and foreign policy, as well as any statement by Kais Said, against him.According to Mabrouk, “EU countries planned to bring two or three million migrants from sub-Saharan Africa to Tunisia” in order to put pressure on the government of the North African country.”After Algeria joined the Silk Road [China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative], the Chinese-Russian union, they [Western countries] are afraid that Tunisia will also follow suit, and decided to put pressure [on President Saied] by not providing a loan. They also provoked the migration of the inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa,” Ben Mabrouk stated.In February, President Saied opened up during a meeting of the country’s National Security Council about the “hordes of illegal migrants” from sub-Saharan African countries, calling on the security forces to take urgent measures to put an end to illegal migration.Saied’s remarks, as well as reports about alleged raids by security forces against illegal refugees in the country, caused a wave of criticism against the Tunisian authorities both in Europe and in a number of African countries. The African Union officially condemned the remarks of the Tunisian leader.AfricaTunisia Announces Support Measures for Sub-Saharan African Refugees6 March, 09:18 GMTOn Thursday, the Tunisian president said that the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with which the country is negotiating for a loan, are unacceptable, and would lead to even greater impoverishment of the Tunisian population.In December last year, the IMF suspended consideration of the issue of granting a $1.9 billion loan to Tunis, which is experiencing economic difficulties. One of the IMF’s conditions for the allocation of the loan was the reduction of food and energy subsidies, as well as the reform of state-owned companies.Earlier, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell, said that the European bloc is concerned that a “social or economic collapse in Tunisia” would lead to a new influx of migrants to Europe.Africa’I Am a Proud African,’ Tunisian President Saied Says9 March, 16:28 GMTOn a daily basis, numerous sub-Saharan African migrants attempt to make the treacherous journey from Tunisia to Italy via boat, resulting in dozens of fatalities. In recent weeks, there has been a notable surge in reports of migrant deaths at sea. Meanwhile, Tunisia is grappling with both an economic and political crisis. The IMF revealed in April 2020 that the Tunisian economy was experiencing its most severe recession since the country’s independence in 1956. The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated the situation, as the halt of tourism traffic caused significant harm to the economy.