MEPs visit Tunis to support democratic transition
A delegation of MEPs has been visiting Tunis from 2 to 5 April 2012 to evaluate the state of the democratic transition, the needs in terms of cooperation with the European Union and the use of cooperation and assistance funds. It was the first European parliamentary mission since the elections of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA).
The delegation was led by Pier Antonio Panzeri, president of the EP Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and included MEPs of the Foreign Affairs and Budget Committees as well as of the Delegation for the relations with the Maghreb countries.
“The European Parliament is ready to contribute to the economic and social development of Tunisia and to the reinforcement of its democracy,” said Panzeri after he met with members of the government, elected representatives of the NCA and the associations.
An EP press release said the Parliament would like a more flexible and proactive neighbourhood instrument, but stressed the need for a clear commitment from its partners, especially on the issue of good governance, in order to benefit from EU cooperation. The reinforcement of institutional capacity and civil society is therefore essential to support the action of the associations, which should not replace that of the public authorities, the press release said.
The MEPs were met by the NCA’s President Mustapha Ben Jaafar and held a first exchange of views with their NCA counterparts under the presidency of Mrs. Meherzia Laabidi, NCA Vice-President.
The delegation hoped that the works of the Constituent Assembly would be performed within the timeframe set and that the future constitution will guarantee the balance of powers, the public liberties and the individual rights, as well as the general interest, gaining thus the largest consensus within the Tunisian population. They also called for the creation of a constitutional court.
Concerning the next elections, the MEPs underlined the necessity to progress on the basis of the provisions related to the elections of the constituent assembly, such as the guarantee for equality. Citing Tunisia as an example, Mr. Michael Gahler, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and head of the Election Observation Mission of the EU, argued that “good elections depend on political will and not only on technical capacities”.
Tunisia must meet the needs of its population in terms of social justice and employment. The priority of EU cooperation should be to support small and medium companies and job-creating sectors for young graduates. As for the European Neighbourhood Policy, the importance of employment issues must be increased in terms of actions and budget. Like Germany or the United States, EU member states should examine the issue of debt conversion.
In terms of transitional justice, legal proceedings against flagrant human rights violations allow to build trust between the citizen and the Tunisian courts. The law must apply to all and peaceful demonstrations must not be violently suppressed, the press release said. (ENPI Info Centre)