Strategic efforts have been made by Tunisia over the past years in the field of combating terrorism. Although the preventive measures put in place still suffer from shortcomings and from certain implementation problems, the work completed so far by Tunisia should be further acknowledged in a scrutinizing manner. Identifying Tunisia as presenting significant threats to the EU financial system and to the internal market would be contradictory and counterproductive to the commitments the EU took with this country over the past years.
In 2015, Tunisia started to develop a national security strategy and set up a national commission against Terrorism and Violent Extremism, created within the foreign affairs ministry. The new strategy prepared by this commission had proposed a set of measures against jihadist violence. Despite certain remaining insufficiencies, this new document is oriented towards international collaboration and its drafting involved a range of experts. Legal tools have also been put in place with the 2015 anti-terrorism law.
Tunisia and the EU already set the base for cooperation in this field with a political dialogue on security and counter-terrorism, during which the EU had proposed a list of additional support measures for Tunisia. Such support from the EU side should pave the way for a modern security policy and for solid structures to fight terrorism and to prevent radicalisation.
Concerning the Tunisian anti-money laundering regime, Tunisia does not function as a regional financial centre. A currency exchange controls’ system is in place and it must be underlined that the EU had already imposed restrictive measures (freezing of funds and economic resources) of certain persons responsible for the misappropriation of Tunisian State funds, which were effective last year.
Mostly, the special status granted to Tunisia reflects the Union’s commitment to supporting Tunisia’s transition, as it tackles the challenge of the terrorist threat. The EU has since 2011 more than doubled its financial contribution to cooperation with Tunisia. Macro-financial assistance to Tunisia is the most significant in the EU southern neighbourhood. The implementation of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Tunisia also demonstrates the will to deepen the country’s economic and trade integration with the EU.
For these reasons, it would be contradictory and counterproductive to the EU’s commitments to send such a signal to Tunisia and to identify it as a threat. At this stage, and given the fact that Tunisia economically and socially suffered from the disruptions of terrorism, attention should be given not to put further hardships on the country. I would request your utmost consideration of the efforts put in place by Tunisia and of the importance of the EU’s support. We should continue maintaining a strong and strategic relationship with this partner. Therefore, I am calling for the rejection the Delegated Regulation of 13 December 2017 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council, as regards adding Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago and Tunisia.