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Brussels, 27 September 2011
EU response to the Arab Spring: Special Measure for poorest areas in Tunisia
The major political events experienced by Tunisia at the beginning of this year have caused an economic and social shock which has disrupted Tunisia's economic growth. Return to economic recovery is a must and requires the launch of immediate new economic and social policies and reforms which meet the needs of the citizens; in particular those in the most impoverished parts of the country.
The current decision - deriving from the Joint Communication of 25 May 2011 entitled "A new response to a changing Neighbourhood"1 - favours democratic transition in Tunisia and aims to contribute to the reduction of inequality and regional disparities.
The Special Measure of support to the development of the most impoverished regions is divided into three main components:
To contribute to the creation of employment and to measures of social integration in line with the Tunisian Government's own programme. The programme will mainly support an existing national programme focusing on short-term employment, for which the Tunisian Government has allocated 64 million Tunisian Dinar (TND) to the governorates of the poorest regions in order to finance 42,700 fixed-term jobs in the public sector.
To improve the living conditions of 600,000 people by renovating 229 suburbs including 100,000 houses in urban areas in the poorest regions in order to re-launch economic activities in these areas.
To improve access to microfinance services for the population living in the most under-privileged areas by providing support to microcredit institutions to establish and reinforce its presence in the most impoverished areas.
This action is complementary to the programme of support to economic recovery which was adopted last July by the European Commission for an amount of €100 million. These two programmes are fully integrated into the priority action of the Tunisian government as a response to the Jasmine revolution.
Amount: €20 million
Budget Source: European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)
Duration: 36 months