“Tunisia Rejects Access to European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Delegation”

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Tunisian Authorities Deny Entry to European Parliament AFET Committee Members

Tunisian authorities have refused entry to five members of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs (AFET) committee, who were scheduled to commence an official mission to Tunisia on Thursday.

Tunisia’s Rejection of European Parliament Delegation

In a letter addressed to the European Union’s delegation in Tunis, Tunisia’s foreign affairs ministry declared that the parliament’s delegation would not be granted access to the national territory.

Strong Condemnation from the European Parliament AFET Committee

The parliament’s foreign affairs committee strongly condemned the Tunisian authorities’ decision and demanded a detailed explanation, emphasizing that such conduct has not been witnessed since the democratic revolution in 2011.

Uncertainty Surrounding the Impact on EU-Tunisia Migration Agreement

A spokesperson representing the European Commission expressed surprise at the Tunisian government’s decision and noted that they could not confirm whether it would affect the controversial migration agreement recently signed between the EU and Tunisia.

Purpose of Delegation’s Visit and Members Involved

The delegation’s intended purpose was to assess the current political situation in Tunisia, building on their fact-finding mission conducted in April, which uncovered political regression concerning democratic standards and human rights. Additionally, the delegation aimed to evaluate the EU-Tunisia migration deal. However, the five Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) failed to secure meetings with the Tunisian government. The MEPs involved in the mission included Michael Gahler of the European People’s Party (EPP) and Dietmar Köster of the Socialists and Democrats from Germany, as well as Salima Yenbou of Renew Europe, Mounir Satouri of the Greens, and Emmanuel Maurel of The Left, all representing France.

Heated Debate in European Parliament and MEPs’ Criticisms

The refusal to grant entry follows a contentious debate in the European Parliament’s plenary session, during which lawmakers criticized the EU’s controversial migration pact with Tunisia. Satouri, one of the MEPs scheduled for the mission, criticized the EU for being “held hostage by authoritarian regimes” due to its actions. He argued that surrendering border management to dictators made the EU vulnerable.

MEPs have consistently criticized the EU-Tunisia deal for its failure to acknowledge mounting evidence of abusive treatment of sub-Saharan migrants by Tunisian authorities, including illegal pushbacks, racial hatred, and human rights violations. Additionally, they have voiced concerns about the European Commission’s close association with Tunisia’s President Kaïs Saïed, who has embraced far-right conspiracies regarding migrants and their alleged intentions to alter the country’s demographic composition.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Reuters

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