We want concrete measures to support Tunisia’s democratic transition, say S&Ds

La transition démocratique en Tunisie - Tunisian Flag

Today the European Parliament's international trade committee in Brussels backed the introduction of emergency trade measures as a way to support the Tunisian people and to help them continue their democratic progress.

This emergency measure will allow Tunisia to increase their quota for duty-free Tunisian olive oil exports to the EU by an extra 35,000 tons a year – in addition to the to 56,700 tons a year already set by the association agreement. This temporary, exceptional measure could last up to two years.

Emmanuel Maurel, the S&D MEP responsible for this file, said:

"By voting in favour of these very practical measures, the S&D Group has made a clear political statement: support for Tunisia's democratic transition must be the priority for the European Union.

"As the rates of unemployment reach new peaks in Tunisia, the introduction of this emergency measure is sorely needed by the Tunisian government, as well as by a large number of civil-society organisations.

"It should have immediate positive effects for a sector which employs more than a million Tunisians, without negative effects for European producers. In this way we can directly help Tunisia tackle the challenges it faces."

David Martin, the S&D spokesperson on international trade, added:

"This is a crucial time for assistance to Tunisia. By supporting limited duty-free imports of olive oil, a very small opening of the European market can have a huge effect in Tunisia. 

"We hope this can contribute to economic and political stability to benefit both the region and the European Union."