Rome looking to Tunis. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani has said it would be a mistake to abandon Tunisia to the Muslim Brotherhood, as the country has been experiencing a growing instability that needs to be addressed with long-term interventions.
- In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Mr Tajani, national coordinator of Silvio Berlusconi’s party Forza Italia, urged the international community not to abandon the country to the Muslim Brotherhood, as other world powers like China and Russia might exploit this situation.
- In late April, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and French Minister Gerald Darmanin will visit Tunisia to find a way to stem the flow of migrants departing from the North African country.
The economic situation. The Tunisian economy is in dire straits and has been struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the country’s tourism industry, which relies heavily on European visitors, has been devastated by the crisis. To make matters worse, Tunisia has become an increasingly important departure point for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea.
- Mr Tajani called for a comprehensive strategy to address the growing instability in Africa, partly caused by climate change that is destroying agriculture in many countries. He stressed the need for long-term interventions by the European Union, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund.
Italian concerns. Stefania Craxi, a senator in Italy’s Forza Italia party and president of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, expressed concern about Tunisia’s collapse and urged the IMF to grant the loan immediately. Ms Craxi argued that Tunisia, a country with a history of political and economic instability, has been hit hard by the pandemic, the decline of the tourism industry, and the presence of groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. She added that Western powers have a responsibility to help Tunisia, stressing that peace cannot be achieved if people are starving.
- In an interview with Il Giornale, Ms Craxi argued that “it is fair for the IMF to ask for reforms, but the loan should be granted before the worst happens. We demanded that these countries become democracies in a short time, but they have a different history, and the West has its responsibilities. Meanwhile, other actors come into play, the same ones from the war in Ukraine, as we see with Wagner in Libya. Lack of development and global security are connected, there is no peace if people are dying of hunger,” she said.