Italy–Tunisia relations
Italy–Tunisia relations are foreign relations between the Italian Republic and the Republic of Tunisia. Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1957. Italy has an embassy in Tunis and 3 honorary consulates (in Bizerte, Sfax and Sousse). Tunisia has an embassy in Rome, a general consulate in Palermo, 3 consulates (in Genoa, Milan, and Naples) and 2 honorary consulates (in Bari and Novara).
Italy–Tunisia relations


Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean. There was an important Italian community living in Tunisia before independence. There is a Tunisian community in Italy; in the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy Tunisia was one of the few nations to send army doctors to Italy.[1]
Migratory relations Italy–Tunisia
Since the Unification of Italy, there has been a considerable migration of Italians to Tunisia.[2] Today in Tunisia there are a lot of Italian communities. Conversely, the presence of Tunisians in Italy dates back to the 1980s.
In Tunisia the economic and political crisis is relevant. The year 2015 was marked by terrorist attacks.[3] With these attacks Tunisia economic growth was limited, especially in tourism, one of the main sectors. In 2020 the economic crisis increased with COVID-19 pandemic.[4]
To create agreements and collaborations about immigration, development and support for the Tunisian population in their country there are ongoing Negotiations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Tunisia and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy.
In March 2021, a bilateral agreement[5] was signed. In August 2020 ministers Luigi Di Maio and Luciana Lamorgese visited Tunisia and the aim of the visit was to reaffirm the joint commitment to a strong EU-Tunisia partnership, covering political and economic relations as well as cooperation in the field of migration.[6] [2] In 2020, also, there was an agreement between Italy and the European Union for migration flows [3].
Economic relations
The geographical proximity and the free access to the European market by Tunisia make commercial relations between the two countries quite stable.
Trade in 2020 was around 4.5 billion euros. Italy is the second supplier of the North African country, after France, with a market share of about 15% in 2020 and is its second customer.
The presence of Italian companies in Tunisia is strong with 426 active Italian companies which employ 8,836 people. They account for almost a third of all foreign-owned companies in Tunisia.[7]
Fiscal agreement
Double tax agreements (1979)
On 16 May 1979, in Tunis, the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the Tunisian Republic signed the Convention to avoid double taxation in the field of income taxes and to prevent tax evasion.[8]
Bilateral investment treaty (1985)
The Bilateral investment treaty between Italy and Tunisia was signed in Rome on 17 October 1985. This treaty establishes the terms and conditions for private investments by citizens and companies of a state in the territory of the other country.[9]
Energy cooperation
In the context of energy cooperation, the presence of the Transmed gas pipeline is significant. It crosses the Mediterranean and Tunisia connects Italy to the Algerian gas fields.
On 30 November 2016, during the "Tunisia 2020" international conference, Eni and the Tunisian state company ETAP signed a further cooperation agreement for the development of energy generation projects from renewable sources.[10]
On 2 May 2019, as part of the first Italy-Tunisia intergovernmental summit, held in Tunis, the vice-premier and minister of economic development, Luigi Di Maio, signed an agreement with the Tunisian minister of industry, Slim Feriani. The agreement concerns the construction of a submarine power line between Italy and Tunisia co-financed by the European Union and the energy companies Terna and STEG.[11]
On 2 July 2019 in Tunis, the Minister of Industry Slim Feriani and the CEO of ENI Claudio Descalzi signed a new agreement in the presence of the Prime Minister of Tunisia Youssef Chahed. It extends cooperation for the transit of Algerian natural gas through Tunisia until 2029.[12]
Cultural cooperation
Historically, Italy and Tunisia are also linked on a cultural level, as migration and colonization during the 19th century brought large numbers of Italians to the North African country. The Italian presence supported the building of hospitals, schools, industries, small towns (the most famous being La Goulette), newspapers, reviews and cultural institutes. Moreover, the links between Italy and Tunisia range from culture and literature to gastronomy and even language itself, as the Tunisian language has absorbed many words from the Italian language, for example jilat from the Italian gelato (meaning 'ice cream').[13]
A cooperation agreement, dating back to 1997, governs cultural relations between Tunisia and Italy, managing teacher exchanges and the awarding of Scholarships and research grants. The Italian Cultural Institute plays the important role of presenting Italian culture to consolidate cultural relations between the two countries. This state body, which depends on and answers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organizes Italian language study courses with mother tongue teachers and final exams, offers translations into Arabic of literary works of significant value for Italian culture, the diffusion of Italian cinema, arranges concerts, art exhibitions and festivals and provides information of various kinds on the Italian school system, scholarships and more. In general, the Institute is concerned with spreading knowledge of Italian culture in the country.[14][15]
The Craxi affair
In 1992, a system of bribes was discovered in Italy. This illegal system also involved Craxi's political party, the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). This triggered a series of judicial enquiries that would take the name 'Mani Pulite'.
Bettino Craxi
In 1994 Craxi lost his parliamentary immunity and on 12 May 1994 his passport was withdrawn because he was in danger of absconding. But it was too late because Craxi was already in Hammamet protected by the President of Tunisia, Ben Ali.[16]
Craxi entered Tunisia regularly and, thanks to an Italian-Tunisian agreement signed in the 1960s, was recognised as a political refugee. Tunisia welcomed, protected and cared for Craxi.[17] While the protests against Craxi's PSI and corruption continued in Italy, in Tunisia according to his daughter he received the affection of the people.[18]
Italy, however, could not claim anything from Tunisia on the basis of the agreement signed between the two countries in the 1960s. Nevertheless, there were several requests for Craxi's extradition.
Among those most active in the request for Craxi's extradition were Antonio Di Pietro and Diego Novelli. On 15 July 1998, Diego Novelli, on behalf of forty deputies, presented an urgent parliamentary question to know "what initiatives" the government intended to take to obtain Craxi's extradition.[19] Novelli was answered by Enzo Lo Giudice, Craxi's lawyer, who said that the non-extradition 'does not depend on a quirk of the Tunisian government or on the complacency and inertia of the Italian government: it depends on the law, both Italian and foreign'.[20]
Craxi continued from Tunisia to participate in Italian political life through faxes and letters. In the last years of his life he suffered from numerous health problems and there was a vain attempt to negotiate his return to Italy, also for medical treatment, which was unsuccessful.[21]
See also
  1. ^ Da Tunisia team medici e infermieri
  2. ^ Garelli, Glenda (2017). Tunisia as a revolutionized space of migration. Martina Tazzioli. New York. ISBN 978-1-137-50587-3. OCLC 963567492.
  3. ^ "Tunisia attack: What happened". BBC News. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Italia-Tunisia: relazioni sempre più tese". Affarinternazionali (in Italian). 14 August 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Meeting of Minister Di Maio with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, Othman Jerandi". Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Italian interior minister urges Tunisia to act on migration". InfoMigrants. 29 July 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  7. ^ Summary sheet, Italian Economic Observatory, Archived from the original on 30 May 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2021
  8. ^ Text of the Convention, Archived from the original on 27 May 2021. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Press release of the agreement 30 November 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Elettrodotto Italia-Tunisia; c’è l’accordo intergovernativo", ANSA, 2 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  12. ^ Press release of the agreement 2 July 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Italian Tunisians", Wikipedia, 10 May 2021, retrieved 3 June 2021
  14. ^ "Cooperazione culturale". (in Italian). Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Chi Siamo". (in Italian). Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  16. ^ "Bettino Craxi", Wikipedia (in Italian), 30 May 2021, retrieved 3 June 2021
  17. ^ "Il caso Craxi visto dalla Tunisia". Startmag (in Italian). 20 January 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Craxi racconta Craxi". (in Italian). 15 October 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  19. ^ "Il governo deve ottenere l' estradizione di Craxi – la". Archivio – la (in Italian). Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  21. ^ "Bettino Craxi", Wikipedia (in Italian), 4 June 2021, retrieved 4 June 2021
External links
Last edited on 25 July 2021, at 00:16
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