Category Archives: Maghreb

€200 million loan to Tunisia

The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has today approved the disbursement of a €200 million loan to Tunisia.

This disbursement marks the launch of the second Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA-II) programme to Tunisia. A total of €500 million will be disbursed in three instalments in 2017 and 2018.

“Today’s disbursement to Tunisia is proof of our strong commitment to support the successful economic recovery of one of our closest neighbours. With a renewed sense of urgency, Tunisia has reaffirmed its dedication to an effective partnership. The EU stands firmly with Tunisia in achieving prosperity for all of its people” –Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said.

The second Macro-Financial Assistance programme was proposed following the terrorist attacks of 2015, which contributed to halting Tunisia’s economic recovery. This had a significant impact on the country’s balance of payments position and financing needs. The programme was agreed by the Council and the European Parliament on 6 July 2016.

The second and third instalments of the MFA-II (amounting to €150 million each) will be tied to the implementation of a number of policy conditions targeting fiscal consolidation as well as the improvement of Tunisia’s social assistance schemes and business climate.

The EU’s strategy of assistance to Tunisia also includes budget support programmes under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), of which Tunisia is a major recipient among the Southern Neighbourhood countries, and substantial loans from the European Investment Bank.

EU response to MSF on Libya migrants

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, or MSF, on accused the European Union and national governments of funding the criminal abuse of migrants in detention centers in Libya.

Libya’s EU-sponsored coast guard is picking up migrants trying to flee to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea and sending them back to Libya’s detention system, which is “a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion,” MSF International President Joanne said in an open letter to EU governments:

“European governments have chosen to contain people in this situation. People cannot be sent back to Libya, nor should they be contained there,” she wrote.

The EU’s executive Commission denied the allegations on cruel treatment of migrants in Libya and said that its priority is in fact to end the “vicious cycle” that sees people brought to the conflict-torn country by smugglers and then trapped in camps or detention centers.

EU continues investing in Tripoli

EU representatives from the EU Delegation to Libya, Operation Sophia and EUBAM met with the President of the Presidency Council, Fayez Al Serraj, and other Libyan officials in Tripoli, notably Deputy Minister of Defence Colonel Ewhida Abdullah Ewhida, the Chief of the Libyan Navy and the Chief of the Libyan Coastguard.

Discussions focused on the overall EU support to Libya and the Libyan needs, notably on capacity building for security institutions and the rule of law, border control and managing migration.

The mission took place just days after EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya and the EU Liaison and Planning Cell supporting the peace and security process in Libya were renewed until December 2018.  On Operation Sophia, discussions focused on the implementation of the renewed mandate and tasks, notably on how to set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure the long-term efficiency of the training of the Libyan Coastguard.

The visit also followed the adoption of a new programme of €46 million under the EU Trust Fund for Africa on Friday 28 July, to reinforce the integrated migration and border management capacities of the Libyan authorities. It aims at stepping up activities in support of the Libyan Border- and Coast Guards to enhance their capacity to effectively manage the country’s borders. It complements the €90 million package adopted in April 2017 focused on the country stabilization and protection of IDPs, migrants, refugees and host communities in Libya.

The visit underlined the EU determination to support Libya, a close neighbour, at this important moment. EU financial support to Libya targets a wide range of sectors, among them health and education institutions, private sector development and local communities.

Tunisie: la loi protège les femmes

“L’Assemblée des représentants du peuple tunisien a franchi un pas majeur dans le processus de transition démocratique en adoptant à l’unanimité des députés présents une ambitieuse loi contre les violences faites aux femmes. Ce texte très attendu est une nouvelle étape cruciale vers le plein respect des droits humains et l’égalité des chances entre hommes et femmes. Il traduit la mise en œuvre de la Constitution tunisienne et le respect des engagements pris par la Tunisie au niveau international pour le respect et la promotion des droits de l’Homme” – a dit le texte de déclaration du porte-parole sur l’adoption par le Parlement tunisien de la loi contre les violences faites aux femmes.

“L’Union européenne soutient pleinement ce processus et restera engagée aux côtés du peuple tunisien pour la mise en œuvre effective de cette loi.”

Déclaration de Tunis sur la route migratoire en Méditerranée

Les Ministres de l’Intérieur réunis à Tunis aujourd’hui ont convenu de renforcer davantage la coordination en matière de gestion de la migration en Méditerranée centrale.

A cette fin, les Ministres ont convenu de l’approche à suivre dans trois domaines clé: traitement des causes profondes des migrations irrégulières; renforcement de l’action et de la coopération contre le trafic et la traite des migrants; coopération en matière de retour.

Les Ministres de l’Intérieur de l’Algérie, Allemagne, Autriche, France, Italie, Libye, Mali, Malte, Niger, Slovénie, Suisse, Tchad, Tunisie, le Commissaire européen chargé de la migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, des affaires intérieures et de la citoyenneté, ainsi que le Ministre de l’Intérieur de l’Estonie assurant la Présidence du Conseil de l’Union Européenne ont participé à la réunion.

 

EU supports one side in Libya’s conflict

The Council adopted conclusions on Libya.  The conclusions recognises that recent violence threatens Libya’s stability. The EU believes there is no solution to the Libyan crisis through the use of force. The Council reiterates its firm support to the Libyan Political Agreement and to the Presidency Council and Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj (pictured) established under it as the sole legitimate government authorities in the country. The EU calls on all armed groups to refrain from violence, to commit to demobilisation and to recognize the authorities entrusted by the Libyan Political Agreement as the only ones having the right to control Libya’s defence and security forces.

The EU warmly welcomes the appointment of Ghassan Salamé as new Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, who will play a central mediation role based on the Libyan Political Agreement.

ECOWAS in controversy

The 51st ordinary meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began in the Liberian capital Monrovia on Saturday, 3 of June.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address the ECOWAS meeting, the first time a non-African leader has been asked to speak to the event.

Moroccan King Mohammed VI canceled his participation at the summit in protest at Netanyahu’s presence.

Morocco’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the monarch “wants his first presence at an ECOWAS summit not to take place in a context of tension and controversy, and wants to avoid any confusion.”

“Over the last few days, key ECOWAS member states have decided to reduce their level of representation at the summit due to their disagreement with the invitation handed to the Israeli prime minister. Other member states also expressed their astonishment at this invitation,” it added.

The EU was presented by its top diplomat Federica Mogherini:

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