EU approves assistance worth 305 million euros for Tunisia

By Tarek Amara

The European Union has approved a 305 million euro (267 million pounds) financial assistance package for Tunisia to help youth find jobs and boost local development, the bloc said on Wednesday.

The EU said in a statement the record financing deal reflected its strong ambition to create better chances for Tunisian youth. “The adopted programmes will facilitate access to the job market for young Tunisians, boost entrepreneurial innovation and ensure that local communities are not left behind,” Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said in the statement.

The North African country has made a transition to democracy since former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in 2011, the only “Arab Spring” country to avoid conflict as in Syria or further bouts of political turmoil like Egypt.

But an economic crisis has eroded living standards and unemployment is high as political turmoil and lack of reforms have deterred investment needed to create jobs. That has forced the government to launch austerity measures to please donors and lenders including the IMF.

Source Channel News Asia

US, EU Want More Youth Participation In Nigeria Politics

The European Union, the United States of America and other western nations have called for the participation of women and youths in politics in Nigeria.

The group made this call on Sunday in a joint statement signed by the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, among others.

They reiterated their commitment to closely monitor the process leading to next year’s election.

“We hope to see transparent campaigns and we urge all voters to use their democratic right and vote. We are particularly keen to see greater participation of women, youth and people living with disabilities,” the group said.

They, however, warned all political actors to refrain from hate speeches and avoid anything that could heat up the polity.

“As friends of Nigeria and its people, we will follow the campaigns and election process closely. Who wins the elections is for the Nigerian people to decide. Our concern is to see a process leading to free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections.

“We urge all involved – political and non-political actors – to refrain from using hate speech and take a firm stance against violence. The 2015 Peace Accords played an important role in that regard and we welcome new efforts towards that end.”

On vote-buying, they called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to fulfill its constitutional role.

They added that INEC “must be allowed to operate free from outside pressure and intimidation, and in turn must demonstrate full neutrality and professionalism.”

The group also called on security agencies to provide “a safe and secure environment for the Nigerian people to exercise their democratic rights.”

Source – Channels