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Netherlands leads working group on democratisation in Tunisia

The Netherlands and Slovakia will lead a working group established to support the process of transition to democracy in Tunisia.

The working group is part of the Community of Democracies, a network of over a hundred countries devoted to fostering democracy within their own borders, in their region and all over the world.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal announced this at a ministerial conference of the network in Vilnius. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thanked the Netherlands explicitly for this initiative.

Mr Rosenthal: ‘We are going to focus on three issues: free and fair elections, promoting the rule of law and human rights, and jobs, especially for young people and women. The EU can help make a difference by opening its borders to products from the Arab region.’ Mr Rosenthal has advocated better market access for products from the region for a long time.

The working group will operate on the basis of an action plan drafted by Tunisia. NGOs and other civil society organisations will play an important role.

The working group fits in well with the government’s plans to provide support to the Arab region. Mr Rosenthal and Minster for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen explained these plans to the House of Representatives last week.