Tunisia has maintained relations with the CoE for many years, having joined the Venice Commission in 2010 and ratified a number of CoE Conventions. The country has also had observer status with the European Pharmacopoeia since 1987 and has participated in the Pompidou Group’s Mediterranean Network (MedNET) since 2006. This co-operation was stepped up in the wake of the Revolution at the beginning of 2011. It is in this context that steps were taken to identify priorities for co-operation with the Tunisian authorities in the areas of human rights, the Rule of Law and democracy. These were reflected in the "Neighbourhood Co-operation Priorities for Tunisia 2012-2014" document approved by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs in April 2012. On the basis of the concrete results achieved, political dialogue and technical co-operation with Tunisia is further strengthened in the framework of the “Neighbourhood Partnership” document covering 2015-2017 that was adopted by the CoE Committee of Ministers on 4 February 2015.

Most of these priorities have been implemented within the framework of the EU/CoE joint programmes, “South Programme” I and II funded by the EU and implemented by the CoE. Some activities have also been funded through voluntary contributions from other partners. Co-operation with Tunisia focuses, among other things, on supporting constitutional reforms and the setting-up of new governance instances, promoting CoE Conventions with the purpose of creating a common legal space and promoting human rights and good governance approaches in new legislation.

The CoE has provided support to the Tunisian authorities in the drafting of the new Constitution, notably through the Opinion on the draft Constitution issued by the Venice Commission. The approval of the new Constitution in January 2014 and the Parliamentary and Presidential elections late 2014) marked key steps in the Tunisian transitional process. The implementation of the Constitutional provisions represents one of the main priorities in a short-term and the CoE is actively engaged in supporting these processes.

Since 2012, the CoE and the Tunisian authorities have been co-operating in the field of justice reform, on the basis of the tools and methodologies developed by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ). Specific programmes with selected Tunisian pilot courts and training of trainers’ activities have been launched in order to improve court performance and the quality of justice. Furthermore, together with the CEPEJ, the Venice Commission puts its expertise at the disposal of the authorities in the preparation of draft laws on constitutional justice and in the judicial field and in their implementation. Tunisia enjoys observer status with the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) since 2015.

The CoE has also started accompanying the process of reform of the Tunisian institutional and legal anti-corruption framework, on the basis of the tools and methodologies developed by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL),

Furthermore, the Tunisian authorities are actively engaged in fighting trafficking in human beings. In this respect, co-operation with the CoE has focused on the organisation of an international Conference on the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings “Diverse responses to a multifaceted phenomenon”, in co-operation with the International Organisation for Migration and the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Transitional Justice, in April 2014.

The CoE is also active in supporting Tunisian authorities in combatting drug trafficking and addiction, by promoting a human rights approach in policies against drug addiction, in accordance with CoE standards.

The principle of equality between men and women is enshrined in the new Tunisian Constitution. Co-operation with the Council of Europe aims at further strengthening women rights, as well as preventing violence against women and children, on the basis of CoE relevant Conventions, notably the CoE Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

Co-operation activities target also civil society. In this respect, a major step was the creation of the Tunisian School of Politics, which is now fully integrated in the CoE network of Schools of Political Studies.

The CoE also promotes the role of young people in the process of democratic transition. In this connection, regular meetings at regional level between specialists and practitioners have resulted in exchanges of experience and knowledge on democratic youth participation.

Finally, co-operation between Tunisia and the North-South Centre focuses on women's rights, youth policy and intercultural dialogue.

Besides the bilateral co-operation with the CoE, Tunisia has also been involved in regional activities organised in the framework of the South Programme I and II and the Regional Programme to fight violence against women and children in the Southern Mediterranean, funded by Norway.

Furthermore, Tunisian representatives are regularly invited to CoE seminars and activities aimed at promoting CoE Conventions. For example, Tunisia took part to the High-Level International Conference on the Fight against Trafficking in Human Organs that was organised by the Council of Europe in collaboration with Spanish authorities in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) on 25-25 March 2015 in parallel with the opening for signature of the Convention against trafficking in human organs (CETS 216).

Furthermore, the first meeting of the Working Group on Council of Europe’s Conventions dedicated to “the fight against terrorism while respecting human rights” was organised by the CoE together with the Tunisian Ministry of Justice in Tunis on 12 March 2015. In that regard, prevention of terrorism will be a priority area of co-operation between Tunisia and the Council of Europe for the period 2015-2017.