Europe does not have to be afraid of democracy in North Africa.

Several thousands of persons, mainly Tunisians, have arrived by boat during the last few days to Lampedusa Island.

Raising fears of invasion and the threat of terrorism, Italy, which has declared a state of humani-tarian emergency, is demanding an immediate mission by the Frontex agency to patrol the coast of Tunisia and to intercept migrant boats. Italy has requested to put on the agenda of the next meeting of the European Ministers of Home affairs the issue of “crises in North African states and their consequences on immigration and the security of Europe”. The Italian minister of Home af-fairs has furthermore announced that he will meet his Tunisian counterpart to discuss the issue of repatriation.

Migreurop network wonders about the reasons that have enabled the crossing of several migrant boats in this zone of the Mediterranean, which had been “locked” for several months following the conclusion of cooperation agreements between Italia, Libya and Tunisia for maritime borders control. Who has an interest in highlighting the threat of disorder in these states?

Migreurop asks:

 the Italian authorities to afford reception and protection to the migrants who have arrived on Lampedusa and in order to better manage the situation, to allow independent NGOs access so as to support and inform migrants about their rights;

 the Tunisian authorities to reject the role of sub-contractor in migratory controls, played for years by the former regime, in refusing to conclude with Italy readmission agreements which en-able the expulsion of their citizens;

 the European Union to do nothing that weakens Tunisian democracy and in general the aspira-tions of North African people against authoritarian regimes, for which western diplomacy has con-gratulated itself. Far from raising fears and encouraging a behaviour of rejection, these aspirations should be an opportunity for a new mode of relations between Europe and its neighbors from the South.

Rather than Frontex patrols and readmission agreements, it is the lifting of migratory controls which should celebrate the spirit of liberty coming from Tunisia and Egypt.

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