Tunisia PM slams EU boat destroyer mission

02:38 30 May 2015
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[ 30 May 2015 03:32 ]

Baku-APA. Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said here on Friday he disagreed with a boat destroyer mission by the European Union (EU) to avoid migrants from Africa and the Middle East reaching Europe illegally, comparing it to military intervention, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"We need to find out why trafficking of humans is happening and find solutions, and we need to find solutions also for Libya. The solution should be comprehensive and not temporary," he said at a press conference at the Necessidades Palace in Lisbon, following the third Luso-Tunisian summit.


Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho pointed out that the EU should take into account the financial climate of each member state in its refugee relocation plans.


"The European Commission's proposal needs to take into account problems faced by countries like Portugal, namely unemployment," Passos Coelho said


"As the economy and employment grows we will definitely offer better conditions to receive more immigrants and refugees and will also create conditions to receive more Portuguese people who had to find opportunities abroad during the most difficult period," Passos Coelho added.


The EU has said it will spend around 240 million euros (264 million U.S. dollars) to relocate around 40,000 asylum seekers across Europe, offering member states 6,000 euros per refugee.


The UN estimates that over 60,000 people tried to cross the Mediterranean this year with thousands of migrants losing their lives on the perilous journeys.

"Europe has to do more, and Portugal is also willing to do more and to welcome more refugees and immigrants, but its economic and financial conditions have to be taken into account," Passos Coelho said, adding that this issue would be discussed at the European Council taking place next month.


During the press conference, Essid said Portugal was an example to follow, praising it for the reforms it undertook in past years to boost economy, pointing out that the Tunisian economy was also still suffering.


Passos Coelho said that now that the most rocky part of Tunisia's transition to democracy was over, it was the right moment to launch a new phase in bilateral relations.


Portugal and Tunisia signed several cooperation agreements on Friday, including a memorandum of understanding to introduce Portuguese as a foreign language option at schools.


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