Italy warns Europeans of huge wave of migrants from Tunisia

Rome: Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni warned that Tunisia could export 900,000 irregular migrants to Europe, unless the current crisis in the country is resolved.

“Maybe not everyone is aware of the risks we are facing about the Tunisia situation and the need to support stability in a nation that has serious financial problems,” Meloni told reporters after a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.

“If we do not address those problems in the right way, (the situation) risks unleashing a wave of migration which is objectively unprecedented,” she said.

Meloni stressed that her country was “incapable” of receiving and sheltering the migrants, calling for the need to push for an agreement between the Tunisian state and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in order to obtain the required loan to save the country’s public finances.

The Italian premier emphasized the need to support Tunisia, which is facing a serious financial crisis, saying: “If we do not adequately address those problems, we risk unleashing an unprecedented wave of migration.”

She added that she had discussed the Tunisian crisis with French President Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting late Thursday, which she described as “very productive.”

Meloni said she had also reviewed the situation with EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, who she said would visit Tunisia in the coming days.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell warned Monday that Tunisia risks collapse “economically or socially”, which could trigger a new flow of migrants to Europe.

The Italian premier’s warnings coincided with the Tunisian authorities announcing the death of 34 migrants, and the survival of four, after a boat sank off the Tunisian coast of Sfax.