In the wake of a political exchange between the two sides, a delegation from the European Union arrived in Tunisia to discuss the political and economic situation and the migration file. Meanwhile, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry criticized the statements of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who warned of the "collapse" of Tunisia, describing the political and economic conditions in Tunisia as "very bad."

The European delegation, which arrived in Tunisia in a more tense atmosphere in European-Tunisian relations, is headed by the Director General of Neighbourhood Negotiations, Jean Comoin.

The Delegation of the European Union to Tunisia announced that the discussions will focus on the political, social and economic situation, as well as cooperation on the migration file.

EU spokesman Luis Miguel Bueno told Al Jazeera that the EU respects Tunisia's sovereignty as an independent and sovereign state, noting that there is a partnership agreement between the two parties based on commitments including human rights and democracy.

In the wake of these developments, the correspondent of the French newspaper Le Monde in Brussels conveyed what is like sounding the alarm within the European Union about what he describes as the risk of economic and social collapse in Tunisia, and the possibility of a migration crisis towards the countries of the Union.

Tunisian President Kais Saied's actions created a headache within the European Union, which was poorly moved by what was happening; therefore, it was decided to send the foreign ministers of Portugal and Belgium quickly to assess the situation in Tunisia.

The management of the Tunisian situation has become a real nuisance for European diplomacy, despite the fact that Tunisia receives the most European financial aid per capita. He also noted that the recent arrests of judges, lawyers, journalists, activists and trade unionists accused of a conspiracy against state security have sent shockwaves through the European Union.

Tunisian response

Meanwhile, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry described Borrell's statements about the fear of a collapse of the situation in Tunisia as "disproportionate."

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the statements are exaggerated in light of the steadfastness of the Tunisian people throughout their history, and also with regard to the file of immigration to Europe.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry considered that what it described as selective statements continue to ignore any responsibility for the situation prevailing in Tunisia from 2011 until July 25, 2021.

On the other hand, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry welcomed what it considered constructive support from many partners, including Italy, noting that Tunisia will remain open to what it described as a responsible partnership.

The Tunisian response and the European visit come a day after the European Union's foreign policy chief described the situation in Tunisia as "very dangerous" politically and economically and "very bad", calling on Tunisia to sign and implement an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, fearing a collapse in the country that could lead - as Borrell says - to the flow of asylum seekers towards the shores of the Union, and cause instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

Borrell also criticized Tunisian President Kais Saied's stances on the issue of African migrants.

Borrell's remarks caused angry reactions in Tunisia, most notably what was said by President Saied, who stressed that there is no room for compromising his country's sovereignty to anyone, and that he will not accept any external interference in the affairs of his country again, and that Tunisia is not under protection or mandate, according to him.

Dismissal of a committee chairman

In an internal development, Tunisian President Kais Saied on Tuesday dismissed the head of the National Committee for Penal Reconciliation from his post, which is one of his most important political projects.

A presidential decree was issued in the Official Gazette "terminating the assignment of Mr. Makram Benmna as Chairman of the National Committee for Penal Reconciliation".

Saied established this committee in 2022 and appointed its members last November, and their tasks are to conclude a penal reconciliation with businessmen involved in corruption before the 2011 revolution, and the Tunisian government prepared a list of them in 2012.

The composition is based on the conclusion of an agreement between the perpetrators and the State on the basis of the recovery of the money obtained in exchange for the dismissal of the prosecution.

The money recovered is used for investments in marginalized areas of the country.

Saeed estimates that the total amount of money that the state must recover will reach 13.5 billion dinars (about 4 billion euros).

Last Thursday, Saied visited the committee's headquarters in the capital, saying in a meeting with its members: "I don't see anything at all (...) "Nothing significant has been achieved since the decree regulating penal reconciliation was issued."

He criticized what he described as "inaction", stressing that "the people's money must go back to the people".

"We are looking for loans from abroad and the money is in Tunisia," he said. This is a reference to the government's negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a loan of about two billion dollars.

Saied seeks to complete his political project based on a strengthened presidential system and put an end to the parliamentary system adopted after the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and put the country on a path of democratic transition that was the only one in the region after the "Arab Spring" uprisings.