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Joint Tunisia-EU statement: Transition authorities' will to hold transparent, democratic elections in period not exceeding 18 months  

Published the:  02/02/2012

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February 02, 2012 - TAP - A joint Tunisia-European Union (EU) statement was adopted at the end of Interim Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali's official visit, on Thursday, to Brussels.
The Prime Minister confirmed in this document "the transition authorities' will to hold new, transparent and democratic elections to be overseen by an independent national authority, in a period of time not exceeding 18 months."
In this statement, the two sides agreed on the following priorities: ensuring co-ordination in the employment and vocational training fields, setting up immediately a joint European-Tunisian businessmen's council, and resuming talks on farm products trade liberalisation (2012 first half-year).
The point is also to start negotiations on the signing of a full free-trade agreement between Tunisia and the EU, to pave the path for a gradual integration into the Union's internal market, with a view to setting up a common economic space.
Launch of discussions on the liberalisation of air transport and dialogue on migrations, mobility and security (first half-year of 2012) and opening of talks in March 2012 on the assessment of conformity of industrial products (electrical industries and building materials) have been announced in this document, in addition to the priority lent to "handing over of the ill-gotten assets which are at present frozen in some European countries."
The EU brought confirmation of its decision to grant Tunisia, during the 2011-2013 period , 400 million euros, an amount to be earmarked for utilisation by the independent authority in charge of organising elections and monitoring the electoral process, to the reform of the security sector, justice, media, and support to the transitional judicial process.
The Union will increase its assistance to the civil society organisations in order to complete the privileged partnership action plan.
As part of this latter plan, precedence will be lent to co-operation in the field of upgrading of the economic and financial areas, vocational training, employment, including the development of small- and medium-sized firms and innovation and development in the underprivileged regions.
To this end, the Association Council will hold a meeting during the first semester of 2012, and the EU-Tunisia Task Force its second one.