Tunis, 12 June 2023 (TDI): A strong partnership, a shared history, and close geographical proximity have led the European Union and Tunisia to agree to a comprehensive 5-pillar Package of Partnership to foster their stability and prosperity.
Five Pillars of Partnership Package
To explore and benefit from the enormous potential of the EU-Tunisia shared strategic priorities, the Partnership Package focuses on cooperation and collaboration in areas including economy, trade and investment, energy cooperation, migration and people-to-people contact.
The first pillar of the package, which emphasizes economic and trade partnerships, will enhance investments and benefit the business sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises leading to economic prosperity and stability.
In Investment and trade, the second pillar of the partnership plan, the EU intends to further develop its trade ties to unlock the economic potential of Tunisia as well as increase investment, particularly in the digital sector.
In this regard, President von der Leyen, in her press statement, further highlighted and endorsed the ongoing flagship project with Tunisia, the Medusa submarine cable, which is delivering high-speed broadband to the region.
In order to strengthen EU-Tunisia ties, the EU has also indicated to deliver macro-financial assistance of about 900 million Euros and budget support of 150 million Euros to crisis-hit Tunisia, which is seeking a bailout package from the IMF.
The third pillar, Energy collaboration, will help in the green energy transition in Tunisia, resulting in lower costs and trade in renewables along with increased integration with EU markets.
The fourth pillar is migration. Collective efforts in the field of migration will focus on reducing irregular movements to and fro Tunisia, combating human trafficking, promoting respect for human rights, dealing with life loss at sea and strengthening border security.
The fifth pillar, People-to-people contacts, stands at the core of the partnership, centering on elevating cooperation in research, culture and education and opening doors of opportunity for youth through evolving Talent Partnerships.
Increasing dialogue within the EU-Tunisia Association Council will further facilitate the reinvigoration of the political and institutional partnership between the EU and Tunisia to deal collectively with global challenges and threats, as well as to maintain the international order.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad and the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement are further tasked with the preparation of an MoU on the partnership package between the EU and Tunisia before the next European Summit at the end of June.
Visit of Tunisia amid Economic turmoil
Von der Leyen’s visit to Tunisia, along with the Italian and Dutch prime ministers, came against the backdrop of rising economic instability in Tunisia. In addition, migration issues across the Mediterranean.
Tunisian President on Saturday declined to act as a ‘border guard’ for other countries while highlighting the economic crisis Tunisia is experiencing. He also criticised African migrants in a manner denounced as racialised by the African Union.
Therefore, for the EU to address the rising migration issue across the Mediterranean, Tunisia’s economic stability and cooperation with its President is a necessity.