The European Commission and the European External Action Service have published a progress report on efforts to strengthen EU-Tunisia relations.
Significant work has been undertaken over the last 12 months to strengthen EU-Tunisia relations, and the new report by the two organisations comes ahead of a meeting of the EU-Tunisia Association Council in Brussels, Belgium, next Tuesday (15 May).
The report identifies a number of key areas in which the partners aimed to make progress over the last year, and concludes that tangible improvements have been made across many sectors. These include:
- Women’s rights;
- Judicial reform;
- Youth entrepreneurship;
- The green economy; and
- Civil protection.
As well as the progress already achieved in these areas, negotiations progressed on bilateral agreements on air transport, trade and migration over the last year, serving to further strengthen EU-Tunisia relations.
What are the two parties trying to achieve?
The EU has already benefitted from Tunisia’s participation in its Horizon 2020 framework programme, as well as the country’s involvement in the Erasmus programme, both of which have aided in exchanges between researchers, students, teachers and young people. This, in turn, has facilitated greater innovation potential.
Meanwhile, Tunisia has profited from the EU’s support for the country’s political and socio-economic transition, including structural reforms to boost sustainable growth. Additionally, both partners have hailed their joint response to ongoing security challenges.
What has the EU said?
European Commission High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, said that the EU was eager to deepen its relationship to Tunisia, particularly in terms of promoting stable democracy and encouraging the political aspirations of young people.
She said: “The European Union and Tunisia are natural partners on account of their geographical, cultural and commercial links… The local elections on 6 May, which the Tunisian government invited us to observe, marked an important step in consolidating democracy in the country.”
TunisianMonitorOnline (Government Europa)