Tunisia and European Union establish mobility partnership
By Godfrey Olukya 4-3-2014
Tunisia and the EU have formally established a Mobility Partnership.
A joint declaration was signed by Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner
for Home Affairs, Mr Tahar Cherif, Tunisian Ambassador to Belgium and
the European Union, and the Ministers of the ten EU Member States
involved in the Partnership including Belgium, Denmark, Germany,
Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
‘This Mobility Partnership aims to facilitate the movement of people
between the EU and Tunisia and to promote a common and responsible management of existing migratory flows, including by simplifying procedures for granting visas. The EU will also support the Tunisian authorities in their efforts in the field of asylum, with a view to establishing a system for protecting refugees and asylum-seekers.
Through this Partnership, the EU and Tunisia will not only develop
their bilateral relations in the fields of migration, mobility and
security, but will cooperate together to better meet the challenges
faced in the Mediterranean’, said Ms Malmström in the margins of the
Home Affairs Council in Brussels.
One of the initiatives that will come out of the implementation of the
Partnership is that the EU and Tunisia will begin negotiations on an
agreement to facilitate the procedures for issuing visas.
One objective of the Partnership is to improve the information
available to qualified Tunisian citizens on employment, education and
training opportunities available in the EU and also to make mutual
recognition of professional and university qualifications easier.
The EU and Tunisia are committed to encouraging better integration of
Tunisian nationals legally living in the EU and of migrants legally
living in Tunisia. They have also made a series of commitments to
maximise the impact of migration on development, especially by
strengthening the role of Tunisian communities abroad involved in the
development of Tunisia.
On the subject of irregular migration, besides opening negotiations on
an agreement for the readmission of irregular migrants, the EU and
Tunisia also promised better cooperation to prevent human trafficking
and the smuggling of migrants and to improve the security of identity
and travel documents and border management.
As part of this Partnership, Tunisia and the EU will also work
together to support the establishment and strengthening of the
Tunisian authorities that will be responsible for identifying those
migrants on their territory who are eligible for international
protection, processing their asylum applications, applying the
principle of ‘non-refoulement’ to them and providing them with lasting