Closer relations with the European Union (EU) remain an ever-present component and key choice in Tunisia’s foreign policy. This cooperation has developed under an Association Agreement (signed in 1995), further strengthened in 2012 with a Privileged Partnership.
In view of the historic challenges that Tunisia has had to face in the wake of the January 2011 revolution, the EU has set out a new approach aimed at providing the most relevant responses to the rapid change taking place in the country and to its need for reforms to establish and consolidate sustainable democracy.
This new approach is based on mutual responsibility and a joint commitment to democracy, a constitutional state and universal human rights values. It introduces support based on Tunisia’s ambitions in terms of building closer relations with the EU, its specific needs and its capacities.
Furthermore, the November 2015 Communication on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) provides a clear political framework for efforts to stabilise the region through greater differentiation between partners, better targeting of shared goals, greater flexibility in responding to crisis situations and an increased sense of ownership on the part of both partners.
This approach will see the strengthened relations translated into closer political cooperation in the areas of governance, security and conflict-resolution. This includes:
- boosting high-level political dialogue;
- cooperation on security issues;
- parliamentary cooperation;
- cooperation in terms of democracy and a constitutional state, as well as gender equality, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Furthermore, the Mobility Partnership (MP) introduced in 2014 provides the general framework for EU-Tunisia political dialogue on migration.
EU support for Tunisia in helping implement its reforms remains resolute, in an effort to bolster its economic resilience and ensure that its democratic transition is successful. Against this background, the Joint Communication of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and the Commission on giving greater support to Tunisia, published on 29 September 2016, translates the EU’s bolstered commitments to Tunisia into action.