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Hahn: "Reforms need to be introduced not to please us but in interest of Tunisian citizens"

Published the:  12/07/2018

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(TAP) - The European Union and financial institutions will continue their commitment to upderpin the democratic process in Tunisia, said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn. "Yet, a number of reforms need to be introduced, not to please us, but in the interest of Tunisian citizens because they have the right to aspire for a decent life and good living conditions."

Hahn also told reporters, following a meeting Thursday with Premier Youssef Chahed behind closed doors in Dar Dhiafa, Carthage, the European bloc is trying to contribute to providing decent living conditions and securing stability. The EU will keep on working with the Tunisian government and various stakeholders, he highlighted.

This "fruitful" and "constructive" talk helped explore avenues of cooperation for the next two years and discuss reforms to undertake, while placing emphasis on the EU's commitment to the democratic process in Tunisia.

Hahn is leading a delegation from eight financial and development institutions, namely the French Development Agency (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the German KfW Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Chahed said total investments granted to Tunisia amount to 3500 billion euros, that is 10 955 billion dinars.

"The EU and lenders reiterated their support for Tunisia and its socioeconomic reform programme geared towards boosting growth and employment," he said.

Light was also shed on Tunisia's democratic experience which is threatened by terrorism, particularly following the latest attack (July 8).

The Prime Minister underlined the need to safeguard this democracy through Tunisia's own means and international cooperation.

Lenders' support for reforms is essentially directed towards state-owned companies, social funds and the subsidy system, Chahed underlined. These reforms are not imposed but rather devised by Tunisia while capitalising on foreign experiences.

Tunisia wants to relaunch growth now that the economy is recovering but still falling short of creating jobs.

An upturn in growth is tightly linked to private sector financing mechanisms and projects in inland regions in such sectors as IT and renewables.

Vulnerable groups though need immediate assistance for they cannot wait economic revival; adequate mechanisms, including an expanded social security, have to be put in place, the PM said.

The economic situation is improving, notably with tourism recovering, increased exports and a better state of public finance. Overhaul in public finance started to bear fruits as testify to that an increase in the state's own resources and an improvement in the budget deficit.

Chahed said that inflation, which stood at 7.8% in June, will edge down early next year owing to a series of measures included in the 2018 Finance Law