Noten 46 t/m 48/Astrid Essed klaagt aan


” “Als we afspraken maken met landen binnen en buiten Europa, dan kijken we altijd of die afspraken in lijn zijn met internationale verdragen”, aldus Rutte.”




29 JUNI 2023

Er is meer tijd nodig voor een migratiedeal tussen Tunesië en de Europese Unie. Premier Rutte en Italiaanse premier Meloni vinden ‘een paar dagen, een paar weken’ extra geen probleem, zeiden beide regeringsleiders bij de EU-top in Brussel. Daar praten leiders van 27 EU-lidstaten over migratie.

Op deze EU-top had eigenlijk de grote migratiedeal met Tunesië worden goedgekeurd. Voor eind juni een deal, was de bedoeling. Twee weken geleden gingen premier Rutte, de Italiaanse premier Meloni en de voorzitter van de Europese Commissie Von der Leyen naar Tunesië.

‘Geen feestelijke aankondiging’

“De gesprekken zijn gaande, ik verwacht een goede uitkomst. Vandaag geen feestelijke aankondiging, maar voor de voortgang ook geen probleem”, zegt premier Rutte. “Ik denk dat we heel dichtbij zijn. Ik heb het eerder meegemaakt met dit soort afspraken, ook in 2016 in Turkije, dan kan het altijd een paar weken langer duren.”

Ook de Italiaanse premier Meloni zegt dat er ‘stappen vooruit’ worden gezet en dat ‘een paar dagen of paar weken extra geen probleem is’.

In de deal krijgt Tunesië afspraken over energie, handel én Europees geld, ongeveer 1 miljard euro. In ruil moet het land migranten tegenhouden. Rutte wil met de afspraken ‘het cynische businessmodel van bootjessmokkelaars’ doorbreken en hoopt op meer afspraken met meer landen.

Achter de schermen valt te horen dat onderhandelaars inhoudelijk bijna klaar waren, maar de Tunesiërs nog niet akkoord gingen. Nu liggen gesprekken stil vanwege het offerfeest.

‘Belangrijk voor Rutte’

“Dit is voor Rutte een heel belangrijke deal, want hij wil de asielinstroom verlagen”, zegt politiek verslaggever Fons Lambie. “Hier in Brussel verwachten topdiplomaten dat er voor volgende week vrijdag een deal is.”

Niet iedereen is positief over de aanstaande deal. Bij linkse oppositiepartijen klinkt kritiek. In Tunesië zijn problemen met mensenrechten en persvrijheid. “Als we afspraken maken met landen binnen en buiten Europa, dan kijken we altijd of die afspraken in lijn zijn met internationale verdragen”, aldus Rutte.



Artikel 18 


Het recht op asiel is gegarandeerd met inachtneming van de voorschriften van het Verdrag van GenŁve van 28 juli 1951 en het Protocol van 31 januari 1967 betreffende de status van vluchtelingen, en overeenkomstig het Verdrag tot oprichting van de Europese Gemeenschap.







19 JULY 2023
CNN — 

The European Union signed a major deal with Tunisia on Sunday, promising the North African country as much as €1 billion ($1.12 bn) in investment, financial aid and loans in exchange for curbs on migrants leaving its shores for Europe.

The deal is a major boost for Tunisia’s President Kais Saied, an increasingly authoritarian leader who has spent the past few years dismantling the country’s democracy – a decade after a revolution there toppled a longtime dictator and sparked a region-wide rebellion against autocracy.

Tunisia had previously been described as the only democracy to have emerged from the 2011 Arab Spring movement.

“Since 2011, the European Union has been supporting Tunisia’s journey of democracy,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after signing the agreement. “It is a long, sometimes difficult road. But these difficulties can be overcome.”

Several European lawmakers and human rights organizations have warned that any agreement that doesn’t include human rights assurances would be seen as an endorsement of Saied’s anti-democratic policies.

“In short, we are doing a deal with a dictator who is cruel and unreliable,” Dutch Member of the European Parliament Sophie in ‘t Veld said at a meeting of the body’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on Tuesday. “This deal does not align with our values, it will not be effective, and it is not concluded in a transparent and democratic way.”

That the EU signed it anyway is a testament to how desperate some European leaders have become to curb migration, analysts say.

“This is an agreement with a leader who is showing increasingly authoritarian tendencies,” Camille Le Coz, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Brussels, told CNN. “The priority is given to fixing the problem in the short term, and curbing arrivals. Values lose.”

Saied rose to power in 2019 after the death of Tunisia’s first democratically elected president Beji Caid Essebsi.

Running as an independent, he won a landslide victory after positioning himself as a political newcomer standing up to a corrupt elite.

But democratic ideals were pushed aside in 2021, when the president embarked on a major power grab at the height of the Covid-19 crisis. He ousted the government, dissolved parliament, and began ruling by decree.

Since then, he has cracked down on freedom of the press and judicial independence, even appointing himself as attorney general. Last year, he forced through a new constitution that cemented his one-man rule and dissolved any last hopes for a democratic government. He has also been accused of being responsible for the wave of anti-Black racism in the country amid an influx of migrants.

But Tunisia’s descent into authoritarianism was not on the agenda during the high-profile European visit over the weekend and journalists were not allowed to ask questions during the event.

Instead, Saied was all smiles while posing for photos alongside von der Leyen, Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte after signing the agreement.

Rutte’s presence was particularly striking. Just days before the trip to Tunis, he announced that he would be leaving Dutch politics after his government collapsed over migration policy.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told CNN the agreement signed with Tunisia “focused on macro-economic stability, trade and investment, green energy transition, people-to people contacts, and migration” and that the EU is addressing human rights issues in Tunisia through other channels.

The EU has long championed democracy in the Arab world, describing itself as a “firm promoter and defender of human rights and democracy across the world.” But it has in the past decade witnessed a flood of irregular migration that has seen it prioritize reducing numbers, analysts say, sometimes at the expense of its goal to promote human rights.

Vague agreement

Around 100,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe so far this year, most of them arriving in Italy, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Many made the dangerous journey on small boats operated by people smugglers who have little regard for safety. Since 2015, more than 23,000 people have either died or gone missing while trying to reach Europe, according to the UN.

The issue has pitted EU member states against each other. On one side are receiving countries like Italy that have seen an influx of tens of thousands of people per year and have asked the EU for help to resettle them. On the other side are states like Hungary and Poland which refuse to cooperate and take their share of refugees. Both countries are governed by populist right-wing leaders who argue that they should have control over whom they admit to their territory

But whether the deal with Tunisia could actually lead to a meaningful result is another question.

For one, the pact remains vague. While von der Leyen promised last month the agreement would be worth as much €1 billion in financial aid and loans, the text doesn’t mention that figure.

“The agreement that has been published is almost entirely numberless, and it is extremely broad and unspecific, despite the fact that it is covering a lot of topics where the devil really is in the details,” Max Gallien, a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the UK, told CNN.

To dispense a substantial amount of money to Tunisia, the European Commission would also need to get support from the European Parliament and the European Council, which is made up of representatives of all EU member states.

That could be tricky. The parliament has repeatedly criticized the Tunisian leader, even adopting a resolution in March to express concern about what it called “President Saied’s authoritarian drift” and his “racist discourse against sub-Saharan migrants.”

There are also questions about the Commission’s mandate. The agreement hints that the EU will make it easier for Tunisians to get visas to come to Europe legally.

“This is a prerogative of EU member states. So the Netherlands and the [European] Commission can go to Tunis and commit to this and say the EU is going to make Vague progress on this, but if France or Germany decides that they don’t feel like it, well, they just won’t do it,” Le Coz said.

‘Destruction of democracy’

Gallien said that the lack of exact commitments in the text of the agreement means the deal is mostly symbolic.

“It is designed to show progress, to signal that they’re working together on these issues, because both sides have domestic audiences that have an interest in this, but I think it is very doubtful or very unclear at this point how much will come out of it,” he said.

But signals matter, critics say. The EU is cooperating with Tunisia on migration despite serious allegations of human rights abuses against migrants on Tunisia’s part. Tunisian forces have been accused of arbitrary detentions and inhuman treatment of migrants. And Saied himself has stoked tensions by describing migration into Tunisia from other parts of Africa as “criminal enterprise hatched at the beginning of this century to change the demographic composition of Tunisia.”

The Tunisian government didn’t respond to CNN’s request for comment.

This isn’t the first time the EU has struck a deal with a North Afrian regime that has been accused of human rights abuses in order to stem migration. It brokered a similar agreement with Libya in 2017 despite documented human rights violations there. It announced additional support for Libya last year.

Gallien said Europe’s position on Tunisia’s descent into autocracy is worrying.

“We should not fall into the trap of just looking at other countries in the region and going ‘well, you know, there’s a lot of authoritarianism and consequently, Tunisia’s authoritarianism is less concerning’,” he said.

Tunisia’s democracy was not perfect, Gallien said, but “it did have a genuine attempt at developing democratic institutions.”

“This is a genuine destruction of something that has been built and consequently a narrowing of the options of a country of over 10 million people,” he added. “So, I think that is that is one reason we should be very concerned.”





EU Parliament Members Call for Release of Jailed Critics

12 JULY 2023

Today, European parliamentarians from across the political spectrum denounced the European Union’s shortsighted approach to Tunisia, calling for stronger action on the country’s democratic backsliding.

“We will want to put democracy and human rights back at the center of any agreement with Tunisia,” said Green lawmaker Mounir Satouri. Center-right Parliamentarian Michael Gahler regretted “a return to a Ben Ali situation – and the EU has let it happen.” Center-Left Matjaž Nemec said Parliament stands by Tunisian people and migrants facing abuses, while Renew member Karen Melchior urged the EU Commission and states to respect the EU founding principles in their engagement with Tunisia. All called for the urgent release of arbitrarily detained critics.

A European Parliament’s resolution in March was prompted by a wave of arrests of critics, most of them accused of “conspiracy against state security.” Since the Parliament’s outcry, the situation has dramatically worsened. In April and May, a new wave of arrests targeted leaders and supporters of the largest opposition party Ennahda, including its President Rached Ghannouchi. Today, more than 40 people are behind bars for political activities, opinions, or statements.

Jailing critics is just one of the tools used by President Saied. In recent months, the president sacked judges arbitrarilybanned peaceful protests, and issued decree-laws that undermine judicial independence, threaten free speech, and facilitate surveillance of critics.

In contrast with the Parliament, the EU Commission and the Council failed to show concern about the deteriorating situation in Tunisia. Instead, the EU seems obsessed in obtaining Tunisia’s cooperation on migration control, despite President Saied’s hate speech and growing brutality against Black migrants and asylum seekers.

Tunisia’s breakdown in rule of law is terrible news for its citizens. But it is also bad news for the EU. A government that silences citizens, destroys checks-and-balances, and concentrates powers in the hands of one man cannot be a trusted and reliable partner. This is more important as the EU begs Tunisia for cooperation on migration. Evidence of collective expulsions and violations during interceptions at sea should make the EU rethink and suspend any migration-related funding not to appear complicit in such abuses.

If the EU is serious about human rights and about its engagement with Tunisia and Tunisians, it should urgently change course, call for the release of jailed critics and make it clear that human rights are core in its relations with Saied’s administration.


”On 25 July 2021, in light of violent demonstrations against the government demanding the improvement of basic services and amid a growing COVID-19 outbreak, Saied suspended parliament for thirty days and relieved the prime minister Hichem Mechichi of his duties,[27][28] waiving the immunity of the parliament members and ordering the military to close the parliament house.”





KAIS SAIED,Law%20from%201995%20to%202019.

”Toch is er ook kritiek: Saied staat bekend als een dictator die de oppositie in zijn eigen land onderdrukt.”





17 JULI 2023

In ruil voor geld en ondersteuning belooft Tunesië migranten tegen te houden die de oversteek naar Europa willen maken. De deal die de Europese Unie heeft gesloten is mede een triomf voor afzwaaiend premier Mark Rutte. Hij spreekt van een ‘mijlpaal’, al is er ook kritiek.

Vorige week kwam zijn vierde kabinet nog ten val over migratie, zondag boekte Rutte in demissionaire staat alsnog een Europees succes. Samen met voorzitter Ursula von der Leyen van de Europese Commissie en de Italiaanse minister-president Giorgia Meloni, zette Rutte in Tunis zijn handtekening onder een akkoord met de Tunesische president Kais Saied.

Een zak geld

Die belooft meer te doen om te voorkomen dat bootjes met migranten vanuit het Noord-Afrikaanse land de oversteek wagen naar Europa. In ruil daarvoor komt Europa over de brug met een zak geld. Aan de deal hangt een prijskaartje van een slordige 1 miljard euro, zo werd eerder bekend. Daarvan is 900 miljoen euro bedoeld voor financiële hulp. Het land heeft grote economische problemen. Daarnaast moet nog eens 100 miljoen snel beschikbaar komen voor grensbewaking en het terugsturen van migranten. Volgens Rutte is het ‘essentieel dat er meer controle komt over ongecontroleerde migratie’.

Samen met Von der Leyen en Meloni trekt Rutte de Europese kar. Het drietal vloog een aantal weken geleden ook al naar Tunis om Saied tot een deal te bewegen. Dat lukte toen nog niet. Meloni en Rutte vonden elkaar, omdat Italië dit jaar al ruim 33.000 migranten vanuit Tunesië zag aankomen, terwijl Rutte in eigen land aan de VVD-achterban had beloofd de instroom van asielzoekers te beperken.

Kritiek op Tuniesiëdeal

Als het aan het drietal ligt, volgen er meer akkoorden met andere Afrikaanse landen. ,,Dit partnership moet worden beschouwd als een model om nieuwe relaties met Afrikaanse naties aan te knopen”, zei Meloni. De inspiratie hiervoor wordt ontleend aan de migratiedeal met Turkije uit 2016. Ook toen kwam Europa met miljarden over de brug.

Toch is er ook kritiek: Saied staat bekend als een dictator die de oppositie in zijn eigen land onderdrukt. Daarnaast wordt er door zijn regering een hetze gevoerd tegen vooral zwarte Afrikanen die vanuit Tunesië naar Europa willen. Eerder doken nog verhalen op over vluchtelingen die zonder water en voedsel in de woestijn belanden.


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