Tunisia: Europe must give its full support in order to maintain the country’s stability

The Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy has called on member States of the Council of Europe and the EU to take all appropriate measures in order to maintain stability and contribute to Tunisia’s transition to democracy. The report by George Loucaides (Cyprus, UEL) unanimously adopted by the committee on 25 April, states that, in a changing geopolitical context, Europe must come to the assistance of Tunisia so as to enable it to deal with the double challenge facing it, economic and security, and “support the relaunch of the country's economy and tourism sector”. “If the situation in Tunisia deteriorates, Europe will directly suffer the consequences in terms of security and migration,” warned the rapporteur, noting that around 40 000 Tunisian migrants had crossed the Strait of Sicily towards Italy in 2011.

Of all the countries which experienced the ‘Arab Spring’, “Tunisia has been the only one to have had a positive outcome,” declared the committee, not least with the adoption of the Constitution of 27 January 2014 which put in place a functional political system characterised by checks and balances. The committee also welcomed the justice system reforms which “contribute to the establishment of the rule of law”, the reforms designed to combat discrimination and the efforts made by the Ministry of Justice to effectively combat corruption.

At the same time, parliamentarians encouraged the Tunisian authorities to “preserve the genuine independence of journalists”. “The state of emergency should not be used to interfere in the work of journalists,” they said. They further emphasised that it was important that national reconciliation did not take place at the expense of justice and did not give rise to a sense of impunity. In addition, the adopted text called on the authorities to maintain the moratorium on the death penalty which Tunisia had respected since 1991, and to undertake that this moratorium would not be called into question.

Lastly, taking account of the high degree of co-operation between Tunisia and Council of Europe bodies, along with the results obtained, the committee called on the Committee of Ministers to increase the volume of requests for funding through voluntary contributions, in order to launch, under the 2018-2020 Neighbourhood Partnership, programmes relating to the promotion of women's rights, the defence of children's rights, freedom of expression and freedom of the press and decentralisation. It also considered that this fruitful co-operation would be more effective if it were supplemented by dialogue at a parliamentary level.