Tunisia faces double migrant squeeze as its citizens head for Europe

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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!