Socio-economic challenges to Tunisia’s democratic transition
Among those countries that faced the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, Tunisia is the last one for which hope for a successful democratic transition remains justified. However, the country’s comparatively favourable institutional evolution has led to a dangerous complacency not only in Europe but across the West. While important reforms have been implemented, democracy has so far failed to fulfil the high expectations it has raised within the population. Tunisians’ discontent with their living conditions and the new system’s perceived inability to deliver are fundamental threats to the country’s transition. This article argues that the EU has a major interest in making Tunisia a democratic and socio-economic success story, as failure would not only constitute a lost opportunity to create a role model in the region but would also jeopardise European security interests. The EU should therefore provide more substantial support with the aim of realising socio-economic improvements in Tunisia.