Freed from the regime of Zine el Abdinine bin Ali and on the road to democracy, Tunisia should join the European Union, a group of French and Tunisian academics have suggested in the columns of Libération. A country “in transition”, as were formerly Greece, Portugal, Spain and even the communist countries, Tunisia
“is a more European country than many EU countries themselves. Three-quarters of its trade is with Europe, and it shares with European countries many historical roots, cultural traditions, norms and people (due to the diaspora and a multiplication of lifestyles bringing together both shores of the Mediterranean).”
“It is a small country with limited geographical differences in wealth (nothing in common with the eastern part of Turkey, whose extreme poverty will require significant structural funds if Turkey enters the EU); the GDP per capita is of the same order of magnitude as that of Turkey. Macroeconomic stabilisation was evidenced up to December, a sign that Tunisia had taken advantage of positive constraints contained in the Association Agreement with the EU. This suggests that the prospect of joining does accelerate reforms, as is happening in Turkey. Finally, national cohesion remains strong, and the average skill level is high and extends to a broad middle class.”
The EU would benefit from its membership, as it would establish new North-South relations, “stimulate the transition of other Arab countries, and frustrate the designs of U.S. and Asian powers in the Maghreb,” the authors conclude.
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