The Role of Migration in post-Revolution Tunisia

ICMPD On 13 and 14 July 2011, ICMPD and the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised a conference on ‘The role of migration in the development of post-revolution Tunisia’. The meeting brought together representatives from a broad range of Tunisian ministries and agencies with delegates from European states and international organisations and aimed to provide a forum for free and open exchange on the current challenges and opportunities facing Tunisia in the area of migration. It was organised with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and Czech Ministry of Interior.

A New Willingness to Engage ICMPD and Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Organise Conference on the Role of Migration in the Development of post-Revolution Tunisia

In his opening speech, Tunisian Minister for Foreign Affairs Mouldi Kefi underlined that migration represents a key priority for the Tunisan interim government. The Minister noted that protecting Tunisians abroad, promoting transferability of social security rights, fighting trafficking and irregular migration and promoting mobility across the Mediterranean count among the priority objectives of the Tunisian authorities.

Dirk Buda, Chargé d’Affaires at the EU Delegation in Tunisia, underlined that ‘the EU is fully convinced of the feasibility of making migration contribute to the development of its Member States and its partners on the southern shore of the Mediterranean’. Whilst reminding participants that cooperation between Tunisia and the EU on migration is not new, he underlined that the EU is ready to upgrade relations in this by opening a broader, strategic dialogue on migration, mobility and security with a view to concluding a mobility partnership.

Peter Wiedermann, Director General of ICMPD, stressed that due to the complexity and variety of factors driving movement, immigration and asylum policies can be only one part of the solution to migration challenges. ICMPD has produced a five-point plan for addressing migration trends in the Mediterranean-Arab region which lays particular emphasis on revisiting the EU’s Mediterranean Neighbourhood Policy.

Minister Ennaceur welcomed the results of the conference and used his closing speech to outline the Tunisian authorities’ intention to revitalise relations with Tunisians abroad, many of whom had demonstrated a new desire to engage with their country of origin following the revolution. The minister signalled that new mechanisms are being considered to promote their investment in development projects in Tunisia, encourage exchanges of expertise in the areas of science and technology, and promote dialogue on the country’s development and opportunities for supporting this. The latter point can be considered as particularly important as all Tunisian nationals abroad will be granted the right to vote in national elections.

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