Foreign Affairs and Security Policy High Representative/European Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini said: “A strong and democratic Tunisia is vital for the stability of Europe’s neighbourhood. Bolstering our partnership is a top priority for the EU, as the swift adoption of this first package of EU assistance to Tunisia clearly demonstrates. It is in our common interest too to make sure that Tunisia remains an example to the region. Not just for Tunisia, not just for the Tunisian people, but also to keep hope alive in one of the most uncertain regions in the world.
“On 20 July, we had a long discussion at the Foreign Affairs Council with Tunisian premier Habib Essid on the threats the country and the whole region are facing, and as the EU we guaranteed once again our support. This adoption is one of the many concrete measures we are bringing into play in the short and mid-term, as a response to the exceptional challenges Tunisia is facing.”
European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn said: “Through today’s decision, the EU shows its willingness to provide continuous support to Tunisia in consolidating its democratic transition process. The quick adoption of this €116.8 million support package is a clear signal of our strong commitment towards Tunisia and the Tunisian people and also reaffirms our determination to support our key partner in the aftermath of the recent terror attacks. The EU has shown on this occasion that it is able to react with speed and effect in response to challenging situations.”
Since 2011, the EU has continuously supported Tunisia in its democratic transition and has extensively increased its financial assistance to the country. Following the recent terrorist attacks in Tunis (March) and in Sousse (June), the EU is even more determined to intensify its support to Tunisia.
The political will of the EU to further strengthen relations with Tunisia was clearly expressed in the March European Council Declaration and the July Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions. In the past months, several EU high level political visits and meetings took place – visits of HR/VP Mogherini, European Council President Tusk and Commissioner Hahn to Tunis, and recent visits of Tunisian Prime Minister Essid to Brussels where he met European Commission President Juncker.