As per the official request of prime minister Youssef Chahed, the name of Marouen Mabrouk was removed from the list of 48 Tunisians sanctioned by the European Union for misappropriation of state funds. Unlike other friends and relatives of deposed president Ben Ali who saw their money frozen by the EU, Mabrouk was able to find himself a new political shield to protect his wealth following the revolution that swept the country in 2011. With help from telecommunications company Orange France, he managed to get Tunisia’s prime minister to unfreeze over seven million euros in assets held in EU countries.
In Tunisia’s case, there will likely be for many years to come the relentless push, from both without and within, for foreign governments and institutions to supply aid, support, assistance, and know-how to the end/under the pretext of promoting economic growth, social justice, and State accountability. In this context, will Tunisia allow outside interests and impositions to define its foreign relations and, by extension, its own autonomy? or will it remain vigilant, deliberate, and selective in decisions concerning relations with its geographical neighbors, economic ‘partners,’ and strategic ‘friends’?