EU disburses €300 million in Macro-Financial Assistance to support the Tunisian people

(Source: European Commission)

The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has today disbursed €300 million in Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) to Tunisia. This is the second and last disbursement under the COVID-19 MFA programme to Tunisia, approved to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and enhance macroeconomic stability. The first instalment of €300 million was disbursed in June 2021 after ratification by the Tunisian Parliament of the agreement on Macro-Financial Assistance.

Tunisia is the ninth country for which the COVID-19 MFAs are completed, out of the ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners supported by the €3 billion emergency MFA package in the context of the pandemic. This assistance will allow Tunisia to allocate resources towards mitigating the negative socio-economic consequences of the pandemic on its population, now aggravated by the negative impact that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is having on food and energy security. In total, €600 million in loans have been disbursed under this emergency support programme over the past year, a tangible demonstration of EU solidarity with the Tunisian people at a time of unprecedented crisis.

These emergency funds are being provided to Tunisia in the form of long-term loans on highly favourable terms. They will contribute to alleviating Tunisia’s balance of payments and budgetary situation, while supporting the implementation of key economic reforms. These include measures adopted to improve the sustainability of public finances and public sector reform, enhance the country’s social protection mechanisms, foster the modernisation and reform of State-owned enterprises, and promote private investment by improving the business climate.

At this exceptionally challenging time, the EU remains determined to support Tunisia on the path of economic reforms and full respect of the democratic acquis. This involves an inclusive and transparent political transition process and the return to institutional normalcy, through the respect of the separation of powers and the proper functioning of democratic institutions, including a Parliament. The Tunisian authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to implement a political roadmap, which entails the organisation of a constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections respectively in July and December 2022. This roadmap is based on an inclusive and transparent dialogue involving all the political and social actors as well as the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, rule of law and independent institutions. Its implementation will be key to ensuring the long-term stability and prosperity of Tunisia. The agreement on a new IMF programme will also be an important milestone for the EU to provide its full support to Tunisia in the future.

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for the Economy, said: “Tunisia is a key partner of the European Union and we remain committed to supporting the Tunisian people in these difficult times. Through this disbursement, linked to the COVID-19 emergency, we continue to demonstrate our strong willingness to sustain Tunisia’s economic recovery. The EU stands firmly with Tunisians in their determination to preserve the country’s democratic achievements and will continue to support much-needed economic reforms to secure a more prosperous future for the country.”

Background

Macro-financial assistance (MFA) operations are part of the EU’s wider engagement with neighbouring countries and are intended as an exceptional EU crisis response instrument. They are available to EU neighbourhood countries experiencing severe balance-of-payments problems. In addition to MFA the provision of €1.4 billion through three MFA programmes since 2014, the EU supports Tunisia through several other instruments, including budget support, thematic programmes, and technical assistance and blending facilities to support investment.

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