Tunisian Transition : Hope in Spite of the Challenges

19-06-2012

Tunisia, the birthplace of the popular Arab uprisings, is a small country which remains strongly oriented towards Europe. The European Union has every interest in Tunisia’s successful transition to democracy. The overview of the first 18 months of the transition period is both positive and worrying. Numerous challenges and obstacles are slowing down the process of democratic transition, including socio-economic problems such as unemployment, liquidity in the banking sector and external financing. Political and security issues have emerged, the most alarming of which are still the extremism and violence of Salafist groups. The political landscape is still characterised by strong polarisation between the parliamentary majority and the opposition parties, which sometimes disrupts the work of the National Constituent Assembly. The major projects involved in Tunisia’s democratic transition remain unfinished and the population has high expectations. The EU should strengthen its support for the essential political reforms and encourage the Tunisian authorities to make the most of its institutions and Member States’ expertise in various sectors. It should also speed up the process for negotiating new agreements.

Tunisia, the birthplace of the popular Arab uprisings, is a small country which remains strongly oriented towards Europe. The European Union has every interest in Tunisia’s successful transition to democracy. The overview of the first 18 months of the transition period is both positive and worrying. Numerous challenges and obstacles are slowing down the process of democratic transition, including socio-economic problems such as unemployment, liquidity in the banking sector and external financing. Political and security issues have emerged, the most alarming of which are still the extremism and violence of Salafist groups. The political landscape is still characterised by strong polarisation between the parliamentary majority and the opposition parties, which sometimes disrupts the work of the National Constituent Assembly. The major projects involved in Tunisia’s democratic transition remain unfinished and the population has high expectations. The EU should strengthen its support for the essential political reforms and encourage the Tunisian authorities to make the most of its institutions and Member States’ expertise in various sectors. It should also speed up the process for negotiating new agreements.