` In Wake of Terror Attacks, Hopes EU Olive Oil Deal Can Help Tunisian Economy - Olive Oil Times

In Wake of Terror Attacks, Hopes EU Olive Oil Deal Can Help Tunisian Economy

Sep. 18, 2015
Gaynor Selby

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Tunisian olive oil exports are set to increase after the European Union has adopted plans to help the country’s econ­omy recover fol­low­ing the beach mas­sacre ter­ror attacks in June.

Since the ter­ror­ist inci­dent when 38 European tourists were gunned down at a beach resort in Sousse and another 39 seri­ously injured, the Tunisian tourism indus­try has taken a bat­ter­ing.

Tunisia can count on the EU’s sup­port in such a dif­fi­cult time.- Federica Mogherini, EU High Rep.

Crazed gun­man and ISIS sup­porter Seifeddine Rezgui, 24, went on an 11-minute killing spree in the hol­i­day resort until he was even­tu­ally shot dead by police. The inci­dent sent shock waves around the world and European hol­i­day­mak­ers have avoided the coun­try this sum­mer.

One way the European Union says it can show sup­port is to encour­age mem­ber states to import more Tunisian olive oil, which is the country’s main agri­cul­tural export to the EU.

Tunisia’s olive oil indus­try is a vital part of the country’s econ­omy, pro­vid­ing direct and indi­rect employ­ment to more than one mil­lion peo­ple and rep­re­sent­ing one-fifth of the country’s total agri­cul­tural employ­ments.

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The new EU ini­tia­tive will dra­mat­i­cally increase Tunisian olive oil exports to the EU, bring­ing much-needed short-term eco­nomic boost to the coun­try.

The European Commission deal, in place until the end of 2017, offers a uni­lat­eral annual duty-free tar­iff quota of 35,000 tons for Tunisia’s exports of olive oil to the EU, in addi­tion to the exist­ing 56,700 tons under the EU-Tunisia Association Agreement which has been run­ning since 1995.

Exceptional times call for excep­tional mea­sures. The pro­posal is a strong sig­nal of EU sol­i­dar­ity with Tunisia, and fol­lows up on my com­mit­ment to Prime Minister Essid and Foreign Minister Baccouche. Tunisia can count on the EU’s sup­port in such a dif­fi­cult time,” said High Representative of the European Union, Federica Mogherini.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said Tunisia’s olive oil sec­tor is one of the most impor­tant eco­nomic sec­tors of the coun­try and it is morally right for Europe to help it recover.

This ini­tia­tive is a result of the EU com­mit­ment to help the Tunisian econ­omy fol­low­ing the recent ter­ri­ble events. It’s a con­crete effort tar­geted at one of the most impor­tant eco­nomic sec­tors of the coun­try,” said Hogan. It aims to cre­ate more jobs to the ben­e­fit of the Tunisian peo­ple.”

The leg­isla­tive pro­posal will now go through European Parliament for scrutiny and for­mal adop­tion before it offi­cially comes into force.

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