Tunisian Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar responded to figures showing his country's as the largest launching pad for irregular migration to Europe, attributing the reason to the "bad situation" in the economies of the migrants countries of origin.
The Tunisian diplomat's response came to a question about European governments deeply concerned about the very high migration flows from Tunisia this year, during an interview published Thursday evening with the Washington Post.
Referring to the transformation of his country into a transit area for these sub-Saharan migrants, Ammar said that the reason is due to "The bad situation in the economies of the countries [of origin of the migrants]. The medium- and long-term solution is to fix the real problems in their own countries. Whatever you do in terms of police in the sea will not be enough. Because if they do not have hope, work, stability, etc., they will try whatever they can to quit [their countries] and of course Tunisia is in the center of this road [to Europe.] This is a global question. It is above the capacity of one country to tackle."
Recent data from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, quoted by Italy's Agenzia Nova, confirms the large surge in the number of irregular migrants arriving in Italy by sea in the first half of this year, as well as Tunisia's overtaking of Libya to occupy the top spot from which flows to the Italian coasts depart.
A total of 34,761 people arrived in Italy via boats that left the Tunisian coast from the beginning of the year until July 4, an average of about 190 arrivals per day, an increase of 455% compared to 6,371 arrivals in the same period last year.
According to Agenzia Nova, the number of arrivals from Tunisia is estimated at 32,101 in 2022.
In the past two weeks, about 2,000 people have arrived in Italy from Libya, while about 7,000 have arrived from Tunisia.