16 January 2013

Tunisia: 'The EU Is a Friend and a Privileged Partner of New Nation' Says Van Rompuy

Carthage — Council of Europe President Herman Van Rompuy affirmed on Tuesday that the European Union will keep, through privileged partnership, on supporting Tunisia's transition and democratisation process.

"The European Union is a friend and a privileged partner of new Tunisia," he said in a statement to the press at the end of his meeting with Interim Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali at "Dar Dhiafa" palace in Carthage.

Van Rompuy extended congratulations to Tunisia's people on the celebration last Monday of the anniversary of the Revolution and declared that his meeting with the Prime Minister had been "very positive".

He went on saying that after the political agreement on privileged partnership concluded last November and materialised by the new plan of action on the occasion of the association council in Brussels, "The EU is ready to speed up the development of its relations with Tunisia through the implementation of this plan worked out by mutual consent."

Speaking of the different challenges of the political and economic transition in Tunisia, he said he incited Tunisia's authorities to keep on forging ahead in the process of democratisation and especially in matters of independence of the justice and the media, increasing role of the civil society and women, reinforcement of democracy and freedom as well as reform of the security sector.

The increasing political and social tension "is of course worrying," he said, "but it is important that all the players in this transition make all the necessary efforts to establish a climate of constructive dialogue and mutual respect."

Van Rompuy also said he had proposed to the Prime Minister and to President Marzouki to dispatch a EU mission of election observers for next parliamentary elections "to support the democratic process ".

At economic level, the EU resolutely stands by Tunisia's people in this difficult transitional stage and has substantially increased its financial aid to Tunisia, an aid mainly devoted to improving the country's economic performance and fighting against poverty, he stated.

At the same time, the EU has also suggested to negotiate agreements, namely in matters of trade, open sky and standardisation of technical norms, which will contribute to revive economic development and attract new foreign investments.

The Prime Minister expressed for his part satisfaction at the results of negotiations and the process "built up by mutual consent" with the council of Europe.

"We have successfully concluded a series of meetings crowned with a meeting this morning of businessmen and social and economic players," he said.

Copyright © 2013 Tunis Afrique Presse. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.