The EU-Tunisia Privileged Partnership – What Next?

On 15 May 2018, Tunisia and the European Union (EU) will hold an Association Council meeting where they are expected to adopt partnership priorities, the dedicated framework used since the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2015 in replacement of the former action plan. Since the last Association Council meeting in May 2017, some voices on both sides have called for an unprecedented leap in the relationship that would go beyond the partnership priorities. In fact, a number of initiatives have already been taken over the last few months and years, showing the readiness on both sides to break new ground. A few weeks ahead of the Association Council, this Joint Policy Study makes the plea for a significant leap in the relationship that would give an ambitious mid-term horizon to the partnership. While doing so, it also follows a realistic approach, fully acknowledging the constraints on both sides. This Joint Policy Study is the outcome of a joint effort undertaken by four Tunisian and four European experts as part of the activities of EuroMeSCo, the Euro-Mediterranean network of think tanks.

While this study does not offer a magical recipe and a detailed outline of what a possible renewed partnership could look like, the four chapters offer readers an invaluable wealth of information regarding the state of EU-Tunisia relations and hopefully some ideas on how to move forward. The main strength of this study derives from the fact that each chapter has been jointly drafted by a Tunisian and a European author. This allows a balanced analysis that does not focus only on the challenges of the Tunisian domestic situation but also on challenges in Europe. Both should be well understood as they have a direct impact on how the two sides engage in the reflection on the future of their partnership. The four chapters have been designed with a double objective in mind.

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