The European Union will immediately make euro17 million (USD23 million) in fresh funding available to support Tunisia’s transition to democratic rule, according to the bloc’s foreign affairs chief.
The additional aid was announced on Feb. 14 during Catherine Ashton’s visit to the Arab nation, where street revolts led to the ouster of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime last month.
“We want to both help deliver and underpin political openness, help with the democratic transition, and also support economic and social development,” Ashton said in Brussels, noting the role of civil society in the transition.
The bloc will also “recast” its exisiting euro258 million assistance for Tunisia through 2013, Ashton said.
“We have started to review all our policies to make sure that we can increase our support to Tunisia,” Ashton remarked.
The EU foreign affairs chief also said she has discussed with the European Investment Bank the possiblity of mobilizing as much as euro1 billion for Tunisia this year. She reiterated an earlier call by the European Parliament for a Tunisian donors conference.
>> European Parliament Calls for Tunisian Donors Conference
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