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Füle: The EU will double the funds allocated to Tunisia

Published the:  31/03/2011

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April 1, 2011 – TAP  - «The European Union is allocating part of the 160 million-euro budget to Tunisia for 2012-2013. This amount will be doubled as soon as Tunisia has held free and fair elections for a constituent assembly next July 24 and formed a democratically elected Government», affirmed European Commissioner in charge of Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle.
At a news conference he gave here on Thursday afternoon with European Commissioner For Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom, he said that 17 million euros had already been released as emergency aid during the visit of EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Affairs Catherine Ashton, including 10 million euros for microcredits to benefit projects in inland areas.
Besides, he said that «The EU is ready to grant Tunisia the status of advanced partner as soon as the country will establish the rule of law and a democratic system that complies with human rights», a stage, he reckoned, that will be reached after the next elections .
This status, he explained, will allow numerous economic benefits and a greater flow of European investors. In order to support Tunisian economy, he stated, the EU will speed up the agreements in matters of trade exchanges and favour the access to credit lines, stressing that the EU aid is focused mainly on two things: the granting of microcredits and regional and local development.
Füle went on saying: «The EU will back Tunisian authorities for the holding of an international conference with sponsors». Mrs. Cecilia Malmstrom, who visited last Wednesday the refugees camps of Ras Jedir, said for her part that the EU is carrying on its aid for the repatriation of thousands of refugees, noting that the EU intends to grant political asylum to some Somali and Eritrean refugees who cannot return home because of the war.
As regards Tunisians' illegal immigration to the Italian island of Lampedusa, she said that they will be repatriated and reminded that Tunisian and Italian authorities are thinking about means to establish "a partnership of mobility" that will favour legal immigration of Tunisians to Europe on criteria of competence and skills.