Italy’s new PM visits Tunisia

Comment on this story
iol news pic mar04 Tunisia Italy~1 AP Tunisian Prime Minister, Mehdi Jomaa, right, greets his Italian counterpart, Matteo Renzi, upon his arrival at Tunis airport, Tunisia. Renzi is in Tunisia for a one-day official visit. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

Tunis - Italy's newly appointed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Tunisia on Tuesday in his first official trip abroad, saying the Mediterranean should be the heart of Europe and not its border.

“The Mediterranean is not the border but the heart of Europe,” he said at a news conference with his Tunisian counterpart Mehdi Jomaa.

“I chose Tunisia for my first foreign visit as prime minister to show the centrality that Italy attaches to the Mediterranean,” he said.

Renzi, who took office last month, also promised Mediterranean affairs would be central for Italy when it assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2014.

He also said he discussed with Jomaa cooperation over the issue of illegal immigration, as many of the makeshift boats carrying would-be migrants to Europe from Tunisia and Libya end up on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

“We believe this cooperation can be a model,” said Renzi, promising “full support,” without elaborating, while claiming to have found an “incredible decrease in this sector.”

The European Union and Tunisia on Monday signed an agreement which includes a visa facilitation and greater openness to legal immigration in exchange for the fight against illegal immigration.

For his part, Jomaa hailed the visit of Renzi, saying it would “come up with new ideas including... on Mediterranean and bilateral relations.”


sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines