European leaders are encouraged to assist Tunisians in defending their democracy


European leaders have been urged to help Tunisia resist an assault on its fragile democratic gains by supporting independent media, civil society and the rule of law.

The call comes from the European Union (EU) and its member states, which have a long history of supporting Tunisia’s democratic transition and are now being asked to do more.

The North African nation has been in a state of political turmoil since the 2011 revolution that overthrew its authoritarian leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Since then, two governments have been overthrown in less than two years, and the current president, Beji Caid Essebsi, is facing a major challenge from the Islamist Ennahda party.

The situation has been exacerbated by a deep economic crisis, with youth unemployment at more than 30 percent.

The EU and its member states have already provided financial and technical support to Tunisia’s democratic transition, but more needs to be done.

In particular, they must help strengthen independent media and civil society organisations, and ensure that the rule of law is respected.

The EU and its member states should also continue to provide financial and technical support to Tunisia’s democratic transition, and work with the country’s political leaders to ensure that the transition is inclusive and respects the rights of all citizens.