An independent inquiry should be set up into the death of street protesters in Tunisia, said the EP Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries in a formal declaration on Tuesday. Several MEPs advocated suspending negotiations for an "advanced status" for Tunisia, complementing its EU Association Agreement.
North African neighbours Algeria and Tunisia have both been convulsed by widespread rioting and violent clashes with the police in the past few days, resulting in the death of several demonstrators. At an extraordinary meeting, EP delegation members condemned the use of live ammunition by police forces to break up street protests in Tunisia and issued a declaration calling for an independent inquiry.
Should the EU suspend negotiations with Tunisia?
Regarding EU negotiations with Tunisia, the declaration also stresses that the granting of an "advanced status" to Tunisia (in addition to its EU Association Agreement) is conditional upon the country's respect of human rights. It also calls for an urgent meeting of the EU-Tunisia Association Council.
During the debate, Robert Rochefort (ALDE, FR) advocated provisionally suspending EU negotiations with Tunisia. Hélène Flautre (Greens/EFA, FR), Malika Benarab-Attou (Greens/EFA, FR), and Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL, FR), agreed, and strongly criticised the EU External Action Service's "weak" response and failure to condemn the Tunisian authorities.
Delegation chair Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT), stressed that the fatal street protests demonstrate the real need for political, social and economic reforms in the both countries and for the EU to pay more attention to the Maghreb region. His party colleague Carmen Romero (S&D, ES), added that the EU must avoid having double standards with the country and demand a serious investigation of recent events.
In the chair: Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT)
Extraordinary meeting of the EP Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries