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Belgium and the EU support advanced partner status for Tunisia

Published the:  28/03/2011

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March. 29, 2011 – TAP  - Belgian deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere affirmed that "Belgium and the European Union are in favour of granting Tunisia the status of advanced partner '' and that a final agreement could be concluded only after the holding of free elections and the establishment of democracy, which was the stumbling block during the negotiations in 2005".
Speaking on Monday afternoon to the national and international media, the Belgian official, on a three-day-visit in Tunisia, stressed his country's will to support Tunisian economy in several sectors and especially in matters of investment and tourism ,as well as its commitment to favour the return of Belgian firms to Tunisia in view of the various opportunities of economic cooperation.
Belgium, he said, can also provide its expertise and know-how to Tunisia in several fields such as infrastructure, transport, energy and port management.
He expressed as well his country's commitment to provide financial support to Tunisia , saying : "Belgium will support Tunisia through several financing instruments including the European Investment Bank which will raise its loan capital to Tunisia to one billion Euros ".
On the other hand, Vanackere announced the financing shortly by Belgium of an important programme to assess the media landscape in Tunisia and Egypt.
Developed by UNESCO, this programme will result in a report with recommendations so that the media might develop in a free, democratic and pluralistic way.
Steven Vanackere had a series of talks with the Interim Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Minister of planning and international cooperation.
He hailed the Tunisian people's revolution and aspirations for democracy saying that Belgium is taking high care of developments in Tunisia and reckoning that if it succeeds in its transition to democracy, Tunisia could play a pioneering role in the Arab world and inspire other countries in the region.
Besides, the Belgian official had meetings with several delegates of the civil society to whom he affirmed his country's readiness to share its experience with Tunisia in matters of social dialogue, trade unionism and defence of workers, stressing that the embassy of Belgium in Tunis will prepare a seminar in this regard with Tunisian partners.