Italy offers Tunisia 105 million euros in state cash, credit facility

ROME – Italy will help Tunisia with 105 million euros ($111.7 million) in state cash and credit lines, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s office said on Wednesday, part of Rome’s efforts to boost economic ties with African countries and curb irregular immigration to Europe.

“Energy is one of the matters on which the collaboration between Italy and Tunisia must continue to strengthen,” Meloni said following a meeting with Tunisian President Kais Saied.

As part of several agreements, Rome offered Tunis 50 million euros in state cash to help it promote energy efficiency and renewables projects, an official from Meloni’s office said.

Another deal envisages a credit facility of 55 million euros aimed at supporting small and medium-sized Tunisian firms, he added.

Meloni also said Rome wanted to do more to encourage regular migration in the wake of last year’s agreement to allow into Italy around 12,000 skilled Tunisian workers over three years.

“I think Italy can also do a lot more,” she said.

From January to April 17 about 16,000 migrants, including 2,224 from Tunisia, arrived in Italy, compared with more than 34,000 in the same period last year, according to Italian interior ministry data.

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