Tag Archives: Tunisia

EU-Tunisia talks strengthen ties

Brussels 07.06.2021 Visiting Brussels on 4 June 2021, His Excellency Mr Kais Saied, the President of the Republic of Tunisia, held talks with His Excellency Mr Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, Her Excellency Ms Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission and His Excellency Mr David Maria Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament. These meetings provided an opportunity to underline the depth of historical ties between the European Union and Tunisia dating back almost half a century in a spirit of constantly evolving strategic partnership.

This new phase of bilateral relations is based on shared values and a mutual commitment to strengthening political, economic and cultural ties between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

The talks, which took place in a very cordial atmosphere, focused on young people, education, culture and economic relations, which have been some of the key areas of cooperation between Tunisia and Europe in the last few years. Delivering on the priorities announced in the European Communication on the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood and confirmed by the Council conclusions of April 2021 was also at the heart of these discussions. The two sides invoked the socio-economic impact of the crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social reforms needed to revive economic activity and growth.

Both sides welcomed the celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. Since then, Tunisia has made progress in consolidating democracy, including by holding municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections and by passing laws which guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms, demonstrating that democracy has taken root in Tunisian society.

On the subject of cooperation, the Tunisian President thanked the European Union for its consistent support since 2011, noting the European contribution of more than EUR 3 billion to Tunisia’s socio-economic recovery. For its part, the EU reiterated its long-term commitment to Tunisia and its determination to support the country’s efforts to consolidate its democratic institutions and promote a green, competitive and inclusive economy, in particular by supporting SMEs and promoting foreign investment.

The two sides also discussed the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis and the economic reforms that should be undertaken to create the right conditions for a sustained recovery of growth. The European Union, one of the largest contributors to the international COVAX mechanism, has undertaken to continue supporting the efforts made by Africa, including Tunisia, to combat the pandemic by facilitating fair access to vaccines and assisting its economic recovery, particularly in the worst affected sectors, such as tourism, services and air transport.

The visit confirmed the commitment of both sides to deepening their strategic and privileged partnership. The two sides discussed the priorities that will shape bilateral cooperation in the years to come. The following broad guidelines were outlined in the course of the discussions:

The cooperation started in 2016 under the Youth Partnership has already yielded significant results. More than 5 000 Tunisian students and academics have benefited from the Erasmus+ programme and participated in exchanges in all fields with European universities. The European Union has also supported the modernisation of higher education in Tunisia through 50 capacity-building projects under Erasmus+ since 2015.
Tunisia is also one of the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean which has benefited most from its participation in European research programmes since 1 January 2016 and is the only country of the Southern Neighbourhood and Africa associated with the European «Horizon 2020» Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Tunisian organisations benefited 87 times from 68 grants funded under «Horizon 2020», receiving EUR 11.2 million of direct EU contribution enabling very advanced cooperation with European research centres. The two sides welcomed the success of this venture and discussed at some length the prospects for its future development. Tunisia has formally expressed an interest in joining the new «Horizon Europe» Framework Programme in order to continue this partnership in the field of research and innovation.
In addition, recognising the importance of investing in young people for the future of our countries, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further intensifying cooperation in the field of education, vocational training and higher education, including through the Erasmus+ programme, and to working together to promote the cultural and cultural heritage sector. Within that context, and in the course of this visit, Tunisia submitted a letter of intent with a view to continued participation in the «Creative Europe» Framework Programme relating to the cultural and creative sectors.
Both sides agreed to work together on mobility and all aspects of migration, including legal migration, in accordance with the legal migration and mobility remit of the EU and its Member States. They also had a frank discussion on irregular migration, bearing in mind the root causes and taking their respective interests into account. It was agreed to continue joint work on all aspects of migration and its governance, including asylum, border management, the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings.
The two sides agreed to intensify cooperation in the fields of security and justice and expressed a wish to make rapid progress in the development of police cooperation. They also agreed to strengthen cooperation on preventing radicalisation, counter-terrorism and combating money laundering.
Both sides welcomed the feelers that had been put out for an agreement on extending the coverage of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), which illustrated the success of bilateral cooperation in the space sector. This initiative also has a significant impact on the harmonisation of air transport safety on both sides of the Mediterranean and will benefit the tourism sector too.
Both parties also stressed the importance of continuing to implement the partnership within the framework of the consultation mechanisms set up by the EU-Tunisia association agreement, including expert discussions on the work of the subcommittees. The EU and Tunisia welcomed the fact that various thematic meetings had been held under the association agreement in 2019 and 2020 in spite of the health constraints. These meetings had allowed fruitful exchanges to take place on the challenges facing both sides and ensured the continuation of dialogue between the Tunisian and European administrations.
Lastly, the European and Tunisian sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, including the Middle East peace process. Both sides welcomed the ceasefire which should end the violence, expressing a desire to continue working with international partners to relaunch the political process and reiterating their strong commitment to the two-state solution.
In the light of Tunisia’s participation in the UN Security Council in 2021, both sides agreed to intensify political and diplomatic contacts in order to contribute together to the international community’s commitment to multilateralism and UN principles. In that spirit, the EU and Tunisia reiterated their support for the call of 30 March 2021 for an international treaty on pandemic prevention and preparedness.
The EU and Tunisia underlined their joint determination to implement the initiatives referred to above and to continue fruitful exchanges at all levels, in this case technical and political, which are the key to strengthening their privileged partnership.

#Tunis: explosion next to US Embassy

A suicide bomber acts in Tunisian capital Tunis. The attack took place opposite the U.S. embassy.

DEVELOPING STORY:

12:50 AMENDED “The British Embassy in Tunis is urgently seeking further information following reports of a suicide bombing near the US Embassy #Tunis. If you’re in the area, remain vigilant and follow advice of local security authorities” the issued alert reads.

Pictures of aftermath of the suicide bombing circulate in socical media:

Media reports two dead and five injured, but at the moment it is not clear if the assailant’s death is also included.

13:30 AMENDED: “Emergency personnel are responding to an explosion that occurred near the U.S. Embassy in Tunis. Please avoid the area and monitor local media for updates” US Embassy in Tunis wrote on Twiter.

Tunisia ex-President Ben Ali died in Jeddah

According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs ex-President of Tunisia Ben Ali (83) died.

Deposed leader of Tunesia Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has been hospitalised for “a health crisis” in one of Saudi Arabia hospitals, where he has lived in exile since the revolution of 2011, according to Arab media reports.

The former president’s lawyer Mouni Ben Salha told Mosaique radio onthat Ben Ali’s daughter called him to say her father is “very ill” after years of treatment for prostate cancer, the Associated Press news agency reported. The lawyer said Ben Ali is in treatment in a hospital in Jeddah.

Daul expresses condolences to Tunisia

The president of the European People’s Party (@EPP) Joseph Daul expressed his condolences after terrorist attack in Tunis: “Very saddened by the attack today in #Tunis. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. This tragedy is a painful reminder of the risks that police forces face in ensuring our safety”.

This week two suicide blasts have shocked the capital of Tunisia, killing at least one police officer and wounding several people.

The first explosion on June 27 involved a suicide bomber who targeted a police patrol on Tunis downtown in Charles de Gaulle Street, close to French embassy building.

One police officer was killed, and another was wounded, according to the interior ministry statement. Three civilians were injured, however there was no further detail on gravity of their wounds.

Body parts were seen on the road around the police car, an AFP news agency reported.

A second jihadist committed suicide attack shortly afterwards on a national guard base in the capital’s al-Qarjani district, the interior ministry said. Four security personnel were wounded in that attack.

 

Arrests of protesters in Tunisia

Tunisian authorities have arrested 18 people in the wake of protests that erupted after the suicide of a journalist who set himself on fire to protest economic problems officials said.

Among arrested 13 are from the provincial city of Kasserine and five others from Tebourba, near Tunis, Interior Ministry spokesman Sofiane Zaag said.

The most violent protests erupted in Kasserine, in west central Tunisia, where police used tear gas to disperse violent demonstrators throwing stones. According to ShemsFM radio, the military was deployed to reinforce police to deal with the protests and secure state buildings.

EEAS vacancy for Libya

EEAS Vacancy Notice : FG III Administrative assistant – Libya – location Tunis

PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT: Libya – location Tunis Deadline : 14/12/2018 18:00 Brussels time (Image above: Tripoli, Libya)

CONTACT POINT: Contractagents-delegations@eeas.europa.eu

ALLOWANCE for LIVING CONDITIONS (ICV): 15% (Tunis)

INSTITUTION: EEAS

PROFILE OF THE POST: Administrative assistant

FUNCTION GROUP: FG III

POST NUMBER: 287798 Link to vacancy notice

Migrants shipwreck at Tunisian coast

Coastguards continue to recover bodies of migrants drowned in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean on Sunday (3/05/2018), reportedly the boat had sank next to Tunisian coast.

Tunisian authorities said 47 bodies were recovered off the country’s southern coast, close to the city of Sfax, while NGOs presume there were more passengers on the crowded boat.

“The coastguard and the navy continue their search with the support of a military plane,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo cautioning on Twitter that the final number of missing was still uncertain.

Meanwhile on a visit to Sicily Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said that the island must stop being “the refugee camp of Europe“.

The leader of the Lega Nord party said his government’s plans on migrants were not “hard line… but common sense”.

Salvini added that increasing deportations and limiting new arrivals would end up in saving lives, discouraging illegal migrants to take a risky adventure in Mediterranean waters.

NATO to enhance cooperation with Tunisia

NATO continues to work with Tunisia on a defence-capacity building package and this including the support  for the development of special operation forces, intelligence, – said Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO. “..We are also looking into other areas, like for instance border control and other areas which are relevant for the fight against terrorism” – Stoltenberg continued.

” The whole idea is that the best tool, or one of the best weapons we have against terrorism is to train local forces, to enable local governments to stabilise their own countries and to fight terrorism themselves. And therefore, the whole idea of projecting stability, stabilising our neighbourhood by training local forces, is one of the most important weapons we have against terrorism”.

€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.

Italy to promote Africa at G7 Taormina

 

“Africa is very important for us. Indeed, it is perhaps the focus of our G7 presidency,” said Raffaele Trombetta, the senior Italian diplomat who has led behind-the-scenes negotiations on the G7 agenda with colleagues from the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France and Canada.

The Italian presidency of the G7 raised is concerned about the migrant crisis, caused by multiple conflicts in Africa, becoming increasingly alarming in view of the latest terroristic attack by a UK citizen from Libyan descent in Manchester.

At the moment, according to Bild newspaper, seven million Africans at Libyan coast are searching for a possibility to cross Mediterranean to reach Europe.

“We don’t just want to talk about crises, like migration and famine, but also to promote innovation in Africa and see what we can do to help,” – Trombetta continued. The Italian presidency invited leaders of Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Tunisia to participate in the session on  Innovation and Development in Africa, 27 of May, 2017, along with the African Union (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB).

The involvement of the emerging economies, of developing countries and of international organizations reflects a gradual evolution in the issues addressed by the G7. Initial interest in issues relating solely to financial stability and to macro-economic coordination were soon joined by an interest in other crucial themes ranging from development in Africa and climate change to food safety and the resolution of international crises.

It was Italy, in Genoa in 2001, that inaugurated the traditional by now “African segment” of the Summit, with dialogue sessions between the G7 leaders and the African countries invited by the Presidency.

 

 

 

 

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