Photo by Chermiti Mohamed on Unsplash
MEPs have condemned Tunisia’s decision to deny entry to the official delegation of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee.
Criticism was led by by the Left Group in the European Parliament
A statement read, “In an unprecedented move since the revolution in 2011, the Tunisian authorities show no respect for democracy. This attitude is extremely dangerous especially in the context of the migration deal agreed with the EU, to which the Left has constantly been demanding an end.”
This visit was intended to be a follow-up to a Foreign Affairs Committee fact-finding mission to Tunisia in April 2022, which had already raised some concerns by certain MEPs about alleged “political backsliding in Tunisia on democratic standards and human rights.”
The five MEPs taking part in the mission were supposed to have meetings with NGOs, trade unions and opposition leaders, and to assess the EU-Tunisia migration deal.
The Left Group statement said, “The agreement is a “blank check” for Tunisia, which will get EU money in exchange for preventing migrants from entering the EU.”
“The funds have no additional human rights clauses, usually attached to the EU foreign aid, despite mounting evidence of pushbacks and violence against migrants.”
Left MEP Emmanuel Maurel (La France Insoumise), part of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee’s delegation, said: “I received the Tunisian government’s decision with sadness and dismay.”
“This is the first time that a country has blocked the arrival of an official delegation from the European Parliament. We wanted to have a debate with government officials, parliamentarians, opponents, trade unionists and civil society.”
“Unfortunately, this will not take place. I expect a firm response from European leaders, and clear support for our institution. Together with my colleagues, I will be requesting a debate on this issue at the next European Parliament plenary session.”
“The European Union is Tunisia’s main supporter in the economic and social crisis it is going through. The representatives of European citizens must be able to report on the situation on the ground.”