There should be consensus that we need… and that Tunisia needs… this agreement. However across the divide of those signing the agreement, institutionally and economically, we are not operating at the same level. In agriculture, what trading concessions we concede to Tunisia, weak though they seem from the south of the Mediterranean, are perceived from the north as undermining the livelihood of farmers. The arrangements by which we try to detail the tax systems that Tunisian authorities should apply, can serve to undermine Tunisia’s flexibility to enhance its endowments and attract direct investment. The institutions at north and south of the Mediterranean, still do not converge, are still incompatible. This is not like judging whether institutions of the north or of the south are “best”. This is a question of saying things as they are. Convergence of institutions is an interactive process which cannot be finalised overnight. Believing that convergence will happen just as a result of rapprochement with Europe, is an illusion. Agreement with Tunisia is imperative. Not because sensational events of the recent past must be repeated. But because in the creation of convergent institutions north and south of the Mediterranean, Tunisia occupies a principal role.

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