Tunis, Tunisia (PortSEurope) June 9, 2021 – French Prime Minister Jean Castex was in Tunis on June 2 and 3, 2021, for the third Franco-Tunisian High Council for Cooperation. A joint statement by Prime Minister Jean Castex and Hichem Mechichi, head of the Tunisian government, has been issued. The Prime Minister recalled there “the long friendship between our two countries and the strength of the
bonds which unite them” which made it possible to sign roadmaps as well as a joint declaration addressing several advances of the partnership between the two countries: economy, digital, training with the Franco-Tunisian University for Africa and the Mediterranean … Jean Castex also welcomed the preparation of the Francophonie Summit, which will be held next November in Djerba: “a bridge immaterial thrown over the Mediterranean Sea ”. Below is an English-language version of the transcript as published by the French government: The Head of Government of the Tunisian Republic, Mr. Hichem Mechichi and the Prime Minister of the French Republic, Mr. Jean Castex, co-chaired the third session of the Tunisian-French High Council for Cooperation organized in Tunis, on June 3, 2021 Attended this High Council, on the Tunisian side, Mr. Brahim Bartagi, Minister of National Defense, Mr. Othman Jerandi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, Mr. Ali Kooli, Minister of Economy, Finance and Investment Support, Mr. Moez Chakchouk, Minister of Transport and Logistics, Ms. Olfa Ben Ouda, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mr. Mohamed Bousaid , Minister of Trade and Export Development, Mr. Mohamed Fadhel Kraiem, Minister of Communication Technologies,Mr. Habib Ammar, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Mr. Mohamed Ali Nafti, Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, and on the French side, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian , Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ms. Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Mr. Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Ecological Transition, in charge of Transport, Mr. Alain Griset, Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, in charge of Small and Medium Enterprises.Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ms. Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Mr. Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Ecological Transition, in charge of Transport, Mr. Alain Griset, Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, in charge of Small and Medium Enterprises.Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ms. Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Mr. Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Ecological Transition, in charge of Transport, Mr. Alain Griset, Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, in charge of Small and Medium Enterprises. This session was a renewed opportunity to examine and deepen the joint reflection on the means to strengthen the partnership between Tunisia and France and to explore new opportunities for post-Covid-19 economic cooperation, in accordance with the decided orientations. by the Presidents of the two countries during their meeting in Paris, on June 22, 2020, in the four priority areas of Tunisian-French cooperation, on the one hand and the orientations agreed between the Head of the Tunisian government, Mr. Hichem Mechichi and the French Prime Minister, Mr. Jean Castex, during their meeting in Paris, on December 14, 2020, on the other hand. The Head of Government of the Republic of Tunisia expressed his satisfaction with the holding of this meeting, on a regular basis, stressing its importance in deepening the fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation between Tunisia and France. He reaffirmed Tunisia’s willingness to develop the various economic programs that would make it possible to promote sectors with high added value, emphasizing the need for enhanced cooperation to face the economic and social crisis, aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister of the French Republic, while welcoming the reform plan presented by the Tunisian Government and the initiation of discussions with the International Monetary Fund in order to mobilize the resources required for the implementation of these reforms, reiterated his country’s support to Tunisia, in this regard, within multilateral bodies. The two heads of government and their respective delegations reviewed the main aspects of the Tunisian-French partnership. The two heads of government congratulated themselves on the quality of the Tunisian-French consultations and exchanges, in particular within the United Nations Security Council, where their joint action was crowned by the adoption of resolution 2532 calling for an end. global hostilities in various conflicts around the world to facilitate the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The two heads of government also underlined the importance of the partnership between Tunisia and the European Union. France reiterated its commitment to support Tunisia’s approaches to European bodies, particularly in this phase of finalization of multi-year programming and renewal of the Tunisian-European partnership priorities for the period 2021-2027, and to work towards deepening of this strategic partnership, particularly in a most difficult context marked by the socio-economic repercussions of the pandemic. The two Heads of Government discussed the state of play of the preparations underway for the Francophonie Summit that Tunisia will host in November 2021. Mr. Jean Castex confirmed the payment by France of one million dollars. euros in support of the organization of this Summit. The two parties welcomed the joint efforts made to organize a number of events on the sidelines of the Summit, in particular the first French-speaking Security Center, scheduled for June 29, 2021 in Tunis. The two heads of government noted with satisfaction the density of economic exchanges and investment flows between the two countries. They called for their intensification, particularly in the context of the recomposition of global value chains, from which Tunisia could benefit by improving its infrastructure and the business climate. They welcomed the growing number of partnerships concluded between Tunisian and French companies. The two heads of government have agreed on in-depth cooperation to facilitate economic transition and accelerate reforms in Tunisia. An evaluation was carried out on the implementation of the reforms targeted by the public policy loan announced by the President of the French Republic in June 2020, the first payment of which of 100 million euros was made in March 2021. The disbursements of the balance of the first tranche (50 million euros) and the following tranches (200 million euros) will be carried out under the conditions provided for in the financing agreement. The two heads of government called for the acceleration of the implementation of bilateral development projects, in particular in the field of health and digital health. Mr. Jean Castex recalled, in this regard, the project to build a hospital in Gafsa and the financial and equipment support that France granted to Tunisia from the start of the pandemic. The two heads of government discussed the monitoring of the implementation of the 2008 framework agreement on the concerted management of migration and solidarity development. While welcoming the sustained level of cooperation in the fight against irregular migration and readmission, they discussed the means to promote human mobility which constitutes an essential component of this Agreement and characterizes the relations between the two countries and called for the deepening of bilateral cooperation in the field of readmission, support for voluntary returns and the promotion of seasonal employment in France, in addition to facilitating the issuance of visas. Mr. Jean Castex also thanked his Tunisian counterpart for the cooperation initiated following the attacks in Nice and Rambouillet. The two sides agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the prevention of violent radicalism. The two heads of government also agreed to convene, as soon as possible at the convenience of both parties, the working group on aviation security, taking into account the bilateral and European challenges in this sector. In the field of defense, they praised the quality of cooperation, particularly in terms of capacity building and training of executives.On the judicial front, the two heads of government underlined the advisability of updating the bilateral agreements on mutual assistance and extradition, and recalled the need to strengthen judicial cooperation and the execution of letters rogatory. international.The two heads of government praised the quality and density of bilateral cooperation in education, higher education and scientific research, development of innovation and technology transfer. They endorsed the creation of a Joint Committee responsible for implementing the orientations of the roadmap dedicated to these sectors. The two heads of government underlined the importance of the employability of young people, which remains at the heart of bilateral priorities. They welcomed the progress in discussions concerning the excellence and innovation project to create a Franco-Tunisian University for Africa and the Mediterranean (UFTAM). These advances will materialize through the signing of an intergovernmental agreement which will define the mode of governance of UFTAM and the reciprocal commitments of the parties, in particular the financial commitments allowing the transition to the deployment phase of the project on a dedicated campus, as well as the creation of the public limited company carrying the UFTAM as soon as possible.They expressed the wish that concrete progress be made in the implementation of a certain number of flagship projects, whether it be the renovation of the Higher Institutes of Technological Studies (ISET), financed by debt conversion or the modernization program for vocational training centers. They recalled the importance of the National School of Engineers of Bizerte (ENIB) project, whose new campus will be inaugurated in 2021. Finally, the two heads of government welcomed the success of the Young Entrepreneurs in Tunisia initiative. (JET), on which the French President had committed during his state visit to Tunisia in January 2018. The two Heads of Government welcomed the quality of bilateral cultural cooperation and the signing of several related conventions. Mr. Jean Castex welcomed Tunisia’s willingness to host several cultural events on the sidelines of the Francophonie Summit, in particular the Estates General of French-language books on September 23 and 24, the World Congress of French-language writers on September 25 and September 26, then the French-speaking press. Mr. Hichem Mechichi emphasized the importance of establishing a Tunisian cultural center in Paris and the role it could play to bring the two cultures closer together. He underlined the need to initiate discussions to this end between the Tunisian Embassy in France and the competent French administrations. The two Heads of Government welcomed the signing of several financing agreements of the French Development Agency with the Republic of Tunisia for the implementation of a program to increase resilience to natural disasters (RESCAT); with the Office of the Merchant Marine of Ports (OMMP) for the acquisition of six tugs, and with SONEDE, and Aquassay for the project to improve the industrial and environmental performance of two desalination stations. They also welcomed the signing of a framework agreement on agriculture, several letters of intent on bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in the digital and trade sectors, as well as a series of agreements in areas including investment promotion, education, research and culture. The two heads of government agreed to develop their cooperation in the field of sustainable development, the fight against climate change and the reduction of inequalities. The two heads of government have finally decided to hold the fourth session of the Tunisian-French High Council for Cooperation in 2023 in France. They called on the Monitoring Committee and the Sectoral Committees to meet by the end of 2022 in order to prepare for this deadline and to ensure regular monitoring of the four roadmaps adopted in their updated version.