chapter  6
Tunisia and the world
Pages 24

Tunisia's support for Algeria's independence struggle generated much of the tension in the early years. Economic issues created additional difficulties. While Tunisia became legally independent in 1956, France still dominated the country economically. French interests continued to own most of the phosphate mines, the fertilizer production facilities, metal works, and glass and paper industries. The French government maintained control of the port and military installations at Bizerte. The European Union established the SPRING program in September, 2011 as a mechanism for addressing socio-economic challenges and supporting transitions to democracy in the Middle East and North Africa. The first is Tunisia's resolute commitment to Tunisian nationalism and its resistance to any kind of pan-Arab or pan-Maghreb nationalism that would erode Tunisia's sovereignty. The second is Tunisia's position on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Relations with Algeria and Libya have been the third source of tension.