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Why did the EU want to do a Deal with Tunisia?

So far this year more than 230,000 people have tried to get into the EU through “irregular” means, the highest since the refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016 when more than 1 million people, many from Syria, arrived at Europe’s borders. Of those aiming to get into the EU, 114,000 came through the central Mediterranean route between January and August 2023. The top three nationalities are recorded as Ivory Coast, Guinea and Egypt. There has also been sharp criticism of abuses, with Human Rights Watch concluding Tunisia was not a safe place for black African migrants, with documented abuses including “beatings, use of excessive force, some cases of torture, arbitrary arrests and detention, collective expulsions, dangerous actions at sea, forced evictions, and theft of money and belongings”. Last week, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) also expressed concern, arguing the deal “makes the EU directly complicit in the ongoing abuse” of migrants trapped in the country.