Authors: Rym AYADI (International Institute for Cooperatives at HEC Montreal and Founding President of the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association – EMEA) and Emanuele SESSA (Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association)
This study investigates the evolution and potential impacts of EU policies in Tunisia before and after the Revolution using an innovative analytical framework. To do that, the most important milestones in the frameworks of cooperation agreed between the EU and Tunisia and the policies implemented, are described. The impact of such policies before the Revolution and their subsequent evolution, are analysed to highlight the causes and the consequences of the shifting approach of the EU towards Tunisia. Finally, the analysis is complemented with inputs collected via a consultation from key participants across the Tunisian political and civil society landscape. In the pre-Revolution period, EU relations with Tunisia were narrowed down to an exchange of commercial, financial and strategic interests, in line with most development aid programmes across the world. The Tunisian Revolution brought two fundamental dynamics – democratisation and destabilisation – which had broad repercussions on the relations between Tunisia and the EU. These dynamics enhanced the probability of more synergies and complementarities between the two partners’ political projects and the necessity to strengthen financial support, providing the EU with a window of opportunity for enhanced cooperation, underlined in a win-win philosophy, co-development and deeper integration.