This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech on EU support to Tunisia

Marietje Schaake (ALDE) Mr President, like any sensible person I was shocked and appalled by the cowardly terrorist attack on tourists in Tunisia. My sympathy goes to the victims and their families and loved ones. It reminds us that domestic and foreign policy cannot always be decoupled and that we live in a mutually-dependent world. But despite our grief at these horrible attacks, we must not forget – and work harder to ensure – that Tunisia is, and remains, a success story of how transition from dictatorship can lead to an open society. Tunisians who took to the street five years ago, asking for a more just and democratic society, voiced essential values as their aspirations. Transition is never easy; but those calls by young people sick of the injustices, the abuse of power and corruption, and the lack of opportunities and freedoms must not – and will not – be forgotten. The next generation deserves to find in Europe a reliable and committed partner in helping support further development, in building a free society, diverse and democratic, the complete opposite of the nihilistic and misguided dogma of political Islam advanced through violence. I personally do not like to think in terms of support for Tunisia. Let us work with Tunisians so they can build their own future with the EU as a partner. The announcements of negotiations on a trade agreement should fit into that picture and help create a freer society with opportunities for all Tunisians, especially the young generation.