The European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said on Monday that his visit to Tunisia was a chance to "reaffirm our attachment to the values of democracy, inclusion and the rule of law." Gentiloni made his comment following the conclusion of his two days in Tunisia that began on Sunday, during which he met President Kais Saied, Prime Minister Naglaa Boudin, Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar, Minister of the Economy Samir Said, Minister of Finance Siham Boghdiri and the Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia, Marwan Al-Abbasi.
"The visit was an opportunity to underscore the importance of the strategic partnership between the EU and Tunisia," said the commissioner. "The European Commission remains determined to support the Tunisian people in the current extremely difficult economic context. We want to continue supporting Tunisia to achieve real economic growth, new jobs and better prospects for Tunisians, especially women and youth."
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He pointed out that the Commission is "ready to consider additional macro-financial assistance", but only once an IMF deal is reached. "It is essential that this can take place as soon as possible."
Tunisia has been seeking to obtain a loan from the International Monetary Fund for some time in light of a severe economic crisis, exacerbated by the repercussions of the global pandemic and then the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
"The talks were positive in Tunisia during the meeting with President Saied, various ministers and the governor of the Central Bank," tweeted Gentiloni. "They covered economic cooperation, immigration challenges, and the willingness of Europe to continue supporting Tunisia."
He stressed that there are many common interests between the EU and Tunisia, such as managing migration flows towards Europe. Every year, dozens of African immigrants come to Tunisia with the intention of it being a staging post to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
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