ROME (Reuters) - The European Union's pact with Tunisia can serve as a model for other countries, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday, as the EU struggles to stem unauthorised flows of migrants across the Mediterranean.
The EU and Tunisia last week signed a "strategic partnership" deal that includes cracking down on human traffickers and tightening borders.
Europe also pledged 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in aid to help Tunisia with its battered economy and rescue state finances.
"We want our agreement with Tunisia to be a template. A blueprint for the future. For partnerships with other countries in the region," von der Leyen told a conference in Rome.
She said the EU should offer a legal pathway to take in migrants rather than them risking their lives in perilous sea crossings.
New strategic partnerships would incorporate economic development, trade and investment, with mutual advantages in areas such as climate and renewable energy.
"This Mediterranean region has vast natural resources like sun, wind and immense landscapes in abundance. You have the potential and the ambition to be global energy powerhouses in a net-zero world," she said, citing Europe's hydrogen partnerships with Egypt and Morocco. ($1 = 0.8990 euros)
(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Writing by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Keith Weir)