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GUE/NGL delegation returns from Tunisia


25 May 2011


EU Priorities 2020

A delegation from the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament visited Tunisia from 20 to 23 May 2011.

This delegation was composed of four GUE/NGL MEPs: João Ferreira, Paul Murphy, Giorgos Toussas and Marie-Christine Vergiat.

By sending this delegation to Tunisia, the GUE/NGL wished to express to the Tunisian people its unwavering support for democratic transition.

Friday, May 20: the delegation sought to show that support by first going to the Tunisian-Libyan border, where it was able to verify, via representatives of both the EU (ECHO mission), the military authorities of the civil protection, and NGOs, the immense solidarity that the people of Tunisia were able to deploy to host the hundreds of thousands of refugees who had crossed the border since the conflict began in Libya. This ridicules the xenophobic attitude of the French and Italian governments and the frosty attitude of  Fortress Europe to, on the one hand, the 23 000 Tunisians seeking refuge in a continent of 500 million Europeans, and, on the other, the 400 000 refugees of over 70 nationalities hosted by a small country of 10 million inhabitants.

Saturday, May 21: the delegation continued its journey by visiting Gafsa, Redeyef and Kasserine, a city symbolizing the Tunisian revolution and its dozens of martyrs. The delegation met with trade unionists, who expressed their concerns about administrative inertia, the difficulties of the changing behaviour and inequalities between the coastal region and that of Tunis and the poorer regions in the southern and central parts of the country.

Sunday, May 22: MEPs from the GUE/NGL Group attended a meeting co-organized with RAID ATTAC Tunisia, during which dozens of people spoke in favour of a moratorium on Tunisian debt payments pending the election of democratic bodies and an audit of this debt in order to single out the "odious debts", which only benefited the Ben Ali/ Trabelsi clan and not the Tunisian people. MEPs pledged the support of more than 70 national and European parliamentarians in this fight and announced that a resolution had been voted by the EU/ACP Interparliamentary Union to this effect.

Finally, the MEPs had the opportunity to make a number of contacts with those Tunisians involved in the Revolution (politicians, trade unionists, students, feminists and Human Rights activists in order to be able to understand their concerns, expectations and hopes.

MEPs were struck by the questions raised by many of these people and were able to assure them of their refusal of the imposition of European conditions in any enhanced partnership agreements (readmission of nationals, the pursuit of liberal policies in economic matters).

It is up to the Tunisian people to decide on Tunisia's political and economic choices. The EU needs to unconditionally support this country's choices in particular because the EU has much to be forgiven because of its previous choices.





GUE/NGL Press Contacts:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20 

David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12  


European United Left / Nordic Green Left

European Parliamentary Group