Six years on from the 2011 revolution, and particularly over the past two years, there has been tangible progress, in particular as regards democratic consolidation and promotion of good governance, enhanced security, and exchange and integration between the people of Tunisia and Europe. The EU's constant support, which began immediately after the revolution, was further displayed when Tunisia was associated in the Horizon 2020 research programme and the Erasmus+ programme, and when EU-Tunisia partnerships for both youth and mobility were adopted.
‘Since the 2011 revolution, Tunisia has been a ray of hope for our common region. It has been a beacon for change and for the aspirations of the Mediterranean people. Today, Tunisia needs to consolidate what it has achieved over the past few years. The change initiated in Tunisia must continue, and we, as Europeans, stand alongside the Tunisians and the young people of Tunisia, who are the country's great wealth, every step of the way. Through these actions, the European Union is demonstrating its continuing support for Tunisia.We will continue to work to deepen our collaboration in all possible areas – political, cultural, economic, social and security-related – and to intensify exchanges between our societies and between our young people, based on the conviction that this will lead to a positive outcome.' declared the High Representative/Vice-President for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.
The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn said: ‘Tunisia is facing a major challenge: to translate the incredible democratic achievements of the past years into tangible successes, and to create growth and employment, thereby giving the people of Tunisia, in particular its young people, prospects for the future. With the joint Communication presented in Autumn 2016, the EU tabled a series of proposals to support Tunisia in its reform efforts, mobilising a whole range of instruments, including substantial financial assistance. The recent adoption by the Tunisian Parliament of the Five-Year Development Plan 2016-2020 will make it possible to anchor the EU's financial support in a coherent and targeted strategy. It is now urgent to move into high gear and translate these reforms into day-to-day life'.
The report assesses the state of progress of the implementation, by Tunisia and the EU, of the Privileged Partnership Action Plan (2013-2017) since March 2015. It focuses on the progress of key reforms, in accordance with the strategic priorities agreed between the two parties, such as:
- democratic consolidation and promotion of good governance in accordance with the Constitution and Tunisia's international commitments;
- socio-economic recovery and implementation of structural reforms in line with the priorities identified in Tunisia's 2016-2020 Development Plan;
- strengthening of trade ties between the EU and Tunisia, in particular with a view to concluding a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement (DCFTA),
- the security challenge and terrorism, while highlighting the significant operational results achieved by the Tunisian security services in 2016.
By means of this report, the EU reiterates its intent to support Tunisia in:
- creating a modern, environmentally-friendly and innovative economy. In this context, involving Tunisia in the Horizon 2020 research programme, along with its gradual implementation, represents an important step;
- promoting youth and student mobility, in particular through the Erasmus+ programme, and further increasing ties and exchanges between both societies. As part of the ‘EU-Tunisia Partnership for Youth', adopted in 2016, the EU has pledged in parallel to boost this support by allocating an additional €10 million to Tunisia, intended to mobilise 1 500 students, teachers and young people every year until 2020;
- strengthening cooperation between the EU and its Member States and Tunisia in the field of security, in order to find joint solutions,
- intensifying their partnership in terms of migration management, thereby reaffirming the importance of the Partnership for Mobility and welcoming the launch in October 2016 of negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission.
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