Tunisia: MP Moussa, Europe should do more

We are strategic and example of success, Marshall Plan needed

21 March, 14:50

    (by Luciana Borsatti) (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, MARCH 21 - Europe should do more for Tunisia, the first Arabic country to conduct a democratic transition with "success" after the 2011 season of revolutions, sealed with the constitution launched at the end of January.

    Thus says the jurist and parliament deputy Fadhel Moussa, president of the Constitutional Justice Commission of the Constituent Assembly. "I was part of the delegation that went to Brussels three weeks ago," Moussa told ANSAmed from his office as dean of the Faculty of Law, Political and Social Sciences in the University of Tunis.

    "We met with the highest leaders of the European Union. All of them have praised the results of our revolution. They complimented us, but in the end we did not received the support that we would have wanted".

    Moussa spoke of a 300 million euro loan from the European Commission launched in recent weeks, after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also gave a green light to a 500 million dollar loan following the birth of the new 'technical' government guided by Mehdi Jomaa. The IMF loan is the first installment of a larger aid package, which is conditioned on the adoption of measures "very difficult" to achieve in the current economic situation, the deputy observed.

    The Tunisian delegation expected stronger signals from Europe, continued the MP belonging to the left Al Massar party, like concrete help recouping capital kept abroad by the old regime, which is vital in light of the current "catastrophic financial situation"; the possibility of waiting for that capital recovery before repaying debts contracted in the Ben Ali era, which "enriched" powerful figures of the past; or the conversion of debt into development projects, following the example of what Germany did in the past for a 60 million euro loan. The country has serious budget problems both for 2013 and 2014, Moussa underlined, speaking of a two billion euro hole in both cases, which are necessary for current operating expenses. Meanwhile more resources are needed for development in a country in which "two million people (out of a total of 11) live on less than two dollars a day", he pointed out, where the underground economy "represents 50% of the total" and where the plague of youth unemployment seems to have extinguished much of the hope born during the revolution - a fact easy to confirm speaking to young Tunisians.

    "I don't say that we need the same financing offered to Ukraine," Moussa added, but even Tunisia has regional and European "strategic" importance given the instability of surrounding countries - from Syria to Egypt to Libya - and of the danger represented by terrorist groups both inside and at the borders of the country.

    "There is a relationship between poverty and terrorism," observed the MP, as young Tunisians paid to go fight in Syria demonstrate; and also "the great quantity of money that circulates in Salafist environments".

    The words shed particular light on the fact that Prime Minister Medhi Jomaa just recently has concluded a tour in the gulf countries (including Qatar and Saudi Arabia), in order to seek new investors.

    But even Italy seems deaf to the urgent necessities of the new Tunisia, in the jurist's view. "We're working together to check illegal immigration to respect agreements undersigned by Italy," he said, "But we have not seen significant reciprocity". And yet, he reiterated, "We are the first Arabic country that has succeeded in doing something positive after the revolution, launching an important message to the world".

    "We would expect a sort of Marshall Plan from Europe" exactly for "the strategic role of Tunisia," but that has not happened. (ANSAmed).

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