Posted on November 6, 2020

Italy, France Consider Giving Tunisia Migrant Boat Alerts

Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press, November 6, 2020

Italy and France are considering deploying sea or air craft to alert Tunisia to the departure of clandestine boats ferrying migrants north to Italian shores, like the young Tunisian man who is the chief suspect in a fatal knife attack at a French church last week, the Italian interior minister said Friday.

The Italian minister, Luciana Lamorgese, and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin held talks in Rome on Friday. {snip}


Tunisians fleeing a virus-battered economy make up the largest contingent of migrants landing in Italy this year, and they are coming directly from Tunisia in boats sturdy enough not to need rescue. {snip}

Lamorgese said she and Darmarin discussed a plan that would involve deploying “naval or air assets that could alert the Tunisian authorities to eventual departures” and help them intercept the boats, “in their autonomy that we don’t want to violate.”


“France and Italy must pinpoint a common position for the fight against clandestine immigration on the European level,” he said.


Tunisia is one of only a few countries that has a repatriation agreements with Italy. But with thousands of Tunisians arriving by sea recently and fewer than 100 expelled migrants returned to the North African nation by air weekly, a priority is put on individuals who are believed to be dangerous. {snip}

The two ministers met a day after French President Emmanuel Macron said his country is reinforcing its border controls after multiple attacks this fall.

Italy and France are launching, on an experimental, six-month basis, mixed brigades of Italian and French security forces at their common borders to strengthen controls, Lamorgese told reporters.