Brussels, Belgium - The European Union (EU) and Tunisia on Monday signed an agreement on the movement of populations between the Europe and Tunisia, PANA reported from here.
The EU Commissioner in charge of Interior affairs, Mrs Cecilia Malmström, and the Tunisian ambassador to the EU, Tehar Cherif, both read a joint declaration, stating that the agreement is also meant to promote a common and responsible management of migration -- through the simplification of visa procedures.
Mrs. Malmström indicated that the EU will support the Tunisian authorities in their efforts regarding political asylum with a view to establishing a system of protection for refugees and asylum seekers.
The implementation of the partnership will pave the way, mainly for the opening of negotiations towards an agreement to facilitate visa procedures.
This is the third EU agreement with African countries - the two previous ones were signed with Morocco and Cap Verde.
According to a document released to the press, a total of 125,594 applications were made for Schengen visas at the EU consulates in Tunisia in 2012.
According to EUROSTAT, the EU Office of Statistics, 343,963 Tunisians were residing legally in the EU at the end of 2012.