Tunisia needs more than a check, EU says

Feb. 9, 2011 at 1:29 PM
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The interim government in Tunisia needs more than financial pledges to embrace reforms, European leaders said.

The European Union last week sent a team to assess the post-revolution situation in Tunisia. A revolution sparked by a December protest suicide brought an end to the rule of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power.

Kamel Jendoubi, the president of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, told European leaders the European community should do more to support the transitional government and empower young people in Tunisia, but not give Tunis a blank check.

London this week announced that it was backing its commitment to the Middle East with an $8 million Arab Partnership Fund to support reform across the region.

European lawmakers said more urgent efforts were needed apart from writing checks to Arab governments.

Pier Antonio Panzeri, the European lawmaker who led the mission to Tunisia, said the interim government was facing a multitude of new challenges, ranging from renewing economic productivity to reforming the government.

"What people want is that the voices who supported the (Ben Ali) regime are removed from power," added Jendoubi.

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