Tunis/Tunisia — The 14th session of the Tunisia-EU Association Council took place on Tuesday in Brussels.
Tunisia and the EU agreed on the strategic priorities of the partnership for the period 2018-2020 and on the continuation of joint reflection on the future of Tunisian-European relations by 2030.
Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui co-chaired the council with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini in the presence of the EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, by Johannes HAHN.
Jhinaoui highlighted the progress made in the process of consolidating democracy in Tunisia marked notably by the organisation, on May 6, of the municipal elections which should devote the principles of decentralisation and local democracy.
He also presented to European leaders the priorities of the Tunisian government for the coming period, stressing the importance of greater financial support from the European Union to revive the national economy and improve the social situation.
In turn, Federica Mogherini congratulated Tunisia on the successful organisation of the municipal elections. The EU is committed to further support the decentralisation process in Tunisia and the capacity building of newly elected municipalities through the allocation of a new financial support package.
Johannes HAHN commended the adoption by Tunisia of a roadmap that reflects the commitment to pursue socio-economic reforms.
He announced that he will organise with the financial institutions in 2018, a mission to Tunisia to discuss the support necessary for the implementation of the reforms.
The two senior Tunisian and European officials discussed the main cooperation issues, including the negotiations on the The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) and the Partnership for Mobility.
While commending the joint decision to set an ambitious agenda for negotiations, they underlined the importance of these processes in anchoring Tunisia in the European space and in modernising the Tunisian economy, as well as in human exchanges and the rapprochement of peoples.
Both sides stressed once again the importance given to youth as a priority for their cooperation. In addition to the € 25 million start-up programme for the creation of 1,000 innovative companies in Tunisia, the EU will finance a new programme entirely dedicated to youth including support for employment and employability of young people.
During this Council, the Foreign Minister and the High Representative signed a programme of cooperation and diplomatic exchange between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European External Action Service.
Tunisia and the EU have also launched cooperation in the field of cultural diplomacy which is a tool for economic development and enhancement of cultural heritage.
The two parties agreed on the establishment of an early warning mechanism to ensure a more effective follow-up of the various components of the Privileged Partnership.
Besides, the Association Council also allowed the two sides to exchange views on regional issues of common interest, including the situation in Libya and the Middle East, and the fight against terrorism.