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EUROPEAN COMMISSION

PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 10 December 2012

Tunisia: European Union adopts a new programme of support for democratic transition process

The European Union (EU) has approved a new programme for financial assistance to Tunisia that aims to support the ongoing democratic transition process and to implement some of the priorities recently agreed between the European Union and Tunisia as part of their privileged partnership.

Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, explained: "This second phase of the Programme of Support to the Association Agreement and the Transition Process indicates the European Commission’s confidence in the transition process set in motion since the revolution.” He continued: "In addition to supporting the efforts of the Tunisian authorities aimed at institutionalising the democratic achievements of the revolution, the European Union will work alongside civil society stakeholders who have a vital role to play in creating the rule of law, defining public policies and ensuring that human rights, freedom of association and of expression and the freedom of the media are respected."

With a total of EUR 15 million, this programme follows on from the first Programme of Support to the Association Agreement and the Transition Process (P3AT) of EUR 10 million adopted on March 2012 which made it possible to finance eight priority actions in the following areas: the constitutional process, the fight against torture, support for Tunisian radio, the prevention of violence against women, the protection of migrants/asylum seekers, and the process of recovering currency assets held by clan associates of the former President Ben Ali that have been frozen in foreign banks following the fall of the regime in January 2011. It is also a continuation of two programmes that have supported the modernisation process: the support programme for the implementation of the Association Agreement (P3A) of EUR 20 million adopted in 2002, which made it possible in particular to finance 17 twinning programmes, and the support programme for the implementation of the Association Agreement and the Neighbourhood Action Plan (P3A2) of EUR 30 million adopted in 2007, which made it possible in particular to finance 19 twinning programmes.

The new programme intends to finance institutional twinning programmes with the administrations of the Member States and also to provide technical assistance and grants to strengthen the capacity of the administrations, public institutions and civil society stakeholders, crucial partners if the democratic transition process is to succeed. The programme aims to support the implementation of the Association Agreement and the Privileged Partnership Action Plan recently agreed by the EU-Tunisia Association Council.

Background

The new programme completes other actions supported by the EU in 2012 such as the improvement to access to basic health care services in less-favoured regions (EUR 12 million), the development of Tunisian civil society (EUR 7 million), the reform of the judiciary (EUR 25 million), and further budgetary support for relaunching the Tunisian economy (EUR 68 million).

Moreover, within the framework of the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy, the programme places great emphasis on civil society organisations, which will be able to benefit directly from its implementation.

This action is financed by the SPRING programme (Support for Partnership, Reforms and Inclusive Growth) launched by the EU following the Arab revolutions of 2011.

Tunisia has been linked to the European Union since 1998 through the Association Agreement. At the Association Council meeting of 19 November, the European Union and Tunisia reached an agreement on the new Privileged Partnership Action Plan (2013-2017). These agreements form the legal framework governing relations between the European Union and its partners on political, economic, commercial and social and cultural matters. They aim in particular at strengthening cooperation between Tunisia and the EU and at promoting economic, social and institutional convergence.

For more information

Website of EuropeAid – Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

EU-Tunisia:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/neighbourhood/country-cooperation/tunisia/tunisia_en.htm

European Neighbourhood Policy:

http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/index_en.htm

Contacts:

Peter Stano (+32 2 295 74 84)

Anca Paduraru (+32 2 296 64 30)


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