TUNIS/BERLIN | | tunesien

TUNIS/BERLIN (Own report) - Protests continue against the new Finance Act, which is leading to drastic price hikes in Tunisia, a site of German low wage production. The IMF had imposed the Act on the country to combat the consequences of the structural crisis, in which Germany had played a role in creating. German enterprises and the German government have contributed to Tunisia’s focusing its production on but a few export sectors - particularly the textile and cable production - which cannot offer any real possibilities for the country's development. Because of its heavy dependence on foreign enterprises, Tunis was forced to grant investors tax benefits, which helped drive that country into a dept trap. Last year, Tunisia had to pay nearly a fifth of its budget to foreign creditors, according to a study by the German Left Party-affiliated Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Within the framework of the G20-"Compact with Africa," Berlin is shaping Tunisia to fit the interests of German investors. more…

TUNIS/BERLIN | | tunesien

TUNIS/BERLIN (Own report) - In light of massive protests against the Islamist dominated government in Tunisia, Berlin is pushing for a peaceful settlement and is trying to salvage its "transformation partnership" with Tunis, for which it has allocated 60 million Euros. Within the framework of this "transformation partnership," the Tunisian government has agreed to a number of deals providing new market shares for German businesses in that country. Tunisian workers should also be employed in the vacancies in Germany, which, due to miserable salaries, cannot otherwise be filled. The Tunisian government has also committed itself to giving greater consideration to German business interests, to being more attentive to thwarting the passage of migrants and cooperating with German repressive administrations. Berlin describes these measures as selfless aid to a North African country in a process of transformation. But in fact, they are aimed at strengthening German influence - in an alliance with the government in Tunis, whose Islamist orientation the masses are protesting against. more…

TUNIS/BERLIN | | tunesien

TUNIS/BERLIN (Own report) - The Tunisian government crisis is putting into jeopardy Berlin's current efforts to strengthen its position in North Africa. The German government has recently been trying to enhance its influence in some of the Arab countries by cooperating with Islamist forces, the Muslim Brotherhood circles in Egypt, and the Ennahda government in Tunisia. The aim is to guarantee "stability" in the aftermath of the overthrow of Mubarak and Ben Ali, through a transition to a new political system based on conservative Islamist social structures. German businesses are very interested in this "stability," for example in Tunisia, which, as a low wage location, is popular with German companies. Turkey serves as a model. Its ruling Islamist AKP party is strengthening Islamist structures, which, for example, can help to prevent strikes and other forms of on-the-job protests. By cooperating with Islamists, Berlin accepts the risk of enhancing the prestige of radical forces among them. According to experts, this is the case in Tunisia. The country's liberal and left wing milieus are resolutely protesting. more…

BERLIN/TUNIS | | tunesien

BERLIN/TUNIS (Own report) - The German Ministry of Development (BMZ) has announced new measures for adapting Tunisia's tourism sector to German business needs. The German TUI tourism company is the ministry's cooperation partner on this project. The measures were announced July 10 in Tunisia, by the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Development, Gudrun Kopp, during her visit to the country. The objective is to train Tunisian hotel employees to match German expectations and integrate the regional "arts and crafts" into TUI tourism offers. Financing will be equally shared between the BMZ and TUI, but the yields resulting from this upgrade of TUI's business conditions will go solely to the German company. Tunisia's tourism branch is generally known for its employees' precarious working conditions and low salaries, which will also enhance the German tourism company's profit margin. more…

BERLIN/CAIRO/TUNIS | | aegyptentunesien

BERLIN/CAIRO/TUNIS (Own report) - By sending so-called transformation teams to Egypt and Tunisia, Berlin is seeking to enhance its economic influence in North Africa. German Minister of the Economy Philipp Roesler recently announced that retired German functionaries would assist in "establishing economic administrations" in these two countries in the midst of transformation. In light of the continuing social protests and strikes, German companies in North Africa are worried that the region could become insecure for their low-wage investments. The German government's most recent initiative should dispel these apprehensions. The initiative dovetails perfectly with Berlin's foreign policy initiatives aimed at reinforcing German standing in North Africa, which were launched just after the beginning of the "Arab Spring" in 2011. more…

TUNIS/BERLIN | | tunesien

TUNIS/BERLIN (Own report) - In the aftermath of yesterday's Constitutional Assembly elections, Berlin is using a so-called transformation dialog to strengthen its influence in Tunisia. The "dialog," initiated by the governments of both countries in September, provides for an on-going cooperation, and is particularly aimed at assisting Tunisia's political reorganization and the intensification of economic cooperation between the two countries. It is independent of yesterday's election results and can be applied as leverage for German influence if the Islamic Ennahda Party should achieve a strong position. Simultaneously, it allows Germany to enhance its standing in Tunisia vis à vis France, which still maintains the strongest influence in its former protectorate. The German-French rivalry in Tunisia goes back to the last century. As confirmed by a new publication by the secret service expert, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, this rivalry had intensively been raging - by means of espionage - already during World War II and in the early period of the Federal Republic of Germany. Bonn, at the time, could rely on Nazi personnel and networks to weaken Paris, which, just a few years earlier, had been under occupation. more…

TUNIS/RABAT | | marokkotunesien

TUNIS/RABAT Germany is strengthening its defence cooperation with Tunisia and Morocco. As the German Defence Minister asserted after visits to Tunis and Rabat, Germany was turning ,,not only to the East"but also to conducting a dialogue with the North African States - independently of the ,,Opposite Coast"(ie France, Spain, Italy). The United States is also seeking greater influence in North Africa. more…