EU member states agreed Wednesday to grant Tunisia up to EUR 500 million in loans to help the country achieve economic stability and implement wide-ranging reforms.
Tunisia is widely seen as the sole successful transition to democracy after the Arab Spring, which reached its peak in 2011. But it is grappling with economic stagnation and persistent unemployment, as well as the activities of extremist Islamist militants.
The funding will be available in three loan tranches during the course of two and a half years, subject to Tunis agreeing to clearly defined economic and financial conditions focusing on “structural reforms and sound public finances,” EU member states said in a statement.
A precondition for the aid is that Tunisia respects “effective democratic mechanisms and the rule of law,” as well as human rights, they added.
The decision, taken by EU ambassadors, must now be approved by the European Parliament. However, the move is expected to be a formality. Member states can then give it their final go-ahead.
The aid is in conjunction with funding from the International Monetary Fund, which extended a 2.9-billion-dollar program for Tunisia last month.