Council conclusions on Tunisia
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, February 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"1. The EU congratulates Tunisia on its adoption of its new democratic constitution guaranteeing fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. The constitution is an important step forward in Tunisia's democratic transition process. In a regional context beset with problems, it brings hope and sets an example for people struggling peacefully for their fundamental rights and freedoms to be recognised. On this occasion, the European Union would like to express its heartfelt congratulations on this remarkable result and wishes the Tunisian people every success in realising the democratic aspirations born of the 2011 revolution, which set off a transition process that extends beyond its own borders. The EU salutes the National Constituent Assembly and thereby the Tunisian people for this achievement.
2. Thanks to the joint efforts and the spirit of responsibility and compromise of the authorities, politicians and civil society, in particular through the action of the "Quartet", 26 January 2014 will remain a founding date for Tunisian democracy.
3. The stakeholders of Tunisian society have managed to react positively to internal political challenges and to take the initiative to implement a national dialogue tailored to its particular circumstances. They did so despite the tragic political assassinations and the acts of terrorism which caused such grief in the country in 2013 and whose perpetrators should be pursued and punished. This process has enabled it to maintain civil peace, preserve the stability of the
State and make progress in the constitutional debate. The conclusion of these proceedings lays the foundations for major institutional reforms, including reforms addressing social and economic and security challenges and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular as regards equality between women and men and freedom of opinion, expression, information, religion and belief.
4. The European Union offers the new government led by Mr Mehdi Jomaa its best wishes for success and encourages it to pursue the democratic transition in a climate of calm, in particular by means of an ongoing dialogue with all parties involved in the process, including civil society, with a view to organising free, inclusive, transparent and credible elections in a safe environment and as quickly as possible. The EU reiterates its support for the transition process and its commitment to accompany Tunisia in preparing for its upcoming elections, which must allow the Tunisian people to choose their leaders freely.
5. Recalling its conclusions of 18 November 2013, the European Union invites the new government, in consultation with all social partners, to press ahead with the measures necessary to promote economic recovery and employment. The EU confirms its willingness to support the Tunisian authorities in their efforts to face all the social, economic and security challenges facing the country so as to meet the expectations and needs of the populace, especially the young.
6. The European Union stands by the people of Tunisia in these important times for the future of their nation, and reiterates its support for the ongoing transition process. To that end, the EU, which has doubled it support since 2011, will increase its technical and financial assistance, and is ready to speed up various aspects of negotiations that will make it possible to improve Tunisia's economic growth prospects. Following the positive developments in Tunisia and in line with the spirit and the principles of the new European Neighbourhood Policy, the EU undertakes to strengthen its privileged partnership with Tunisia and its support for the social, economic and political reforms, in the service of the democratic aspirations of Tunisians."