Tunisia faces double migrant squeeze as its citizens head for Europe


Migration has fashioned Tunisia for over two decades, most notably after the uprising that sparked the Arab Spring in 2011, when tens of thousands left a country riddled with unemployment and inequality once old restrictions were lifted. Now Tunisia finds itself in a double bind. It is resisting pressure to house migrants from other African countries trying to reach Europe via its territory, even as a new exodus of its own citizens gathers pace, prompted by economic, political and social distress. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.

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When the European Union floated the idea of refugee centres in North Africa to screen prospective migrants in June, the Tunisian ambassador to the bloc gave a curt reply. The proposal was put to the head of our government a few months ago during a visit to Germany, it was also requested by Italy, and the answer is clear: no!