If it had not been for a bad bout of sinusitis, I would have accompanied my President, Staffan Nilsson, to Tunis in December. The occasion was a meeting of the Board of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions. Since then, we have been following events with great concern but also in the conviction that the social partners and civil society will have a key role to play in the establishment of a lasting political settlement. This afternoon, Staffan Nilsson made the following declaration to the EESC’s plenary session:

“The EESC expresses its solidarity with the Tunisian people and its peaceful struggle for fundamental rights and freedom.

The EESC welcomes and supports the aspirations of the Tunisian people to establish a stable demoracy and calls for the involvement of all democratic forces, including civil society representatives, in this process.

At this moment of political instability, the EESC underlines the important role of participatory democracy and the economic and social partners’ and civil society organisations’ contribution to a constructive and fruitful dialogue about the future of the country.

The EESC will continue to assist and support Tunisian social partners and civil society organisations in this crucial moment of Tunisia’s history.”