State Secretary Yasmin Fahimi represented the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Tunis on May 26 at the third German-Tunisian intergovernmental consultations and held bilateral talks with the Tunisian Social Affairs Minister, Mr Mahmoud Ben Romdhane, and the Tunisian Minister of Vocational Training and Employment, Mr Zied Ladhari. The programme also included a courtesy visit by the German government representatives to Prime Minister Habib Essid. Secretary Fahimi affirmed the strong interest of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in supporting the democratic development of Tunisia also in the field of social and employment policy.
The talks with Social Affairs Minister Ben Romdhane focussed on current initiatives within the context of new social reforms in Tunisia. Minister Romdhane stressed the importance of developing a new Tunisian social model and emphasized the efforts to establish a constructive social dialogue on this issue. The minister pointed to the German model embracing social partners from business and labour as an important reference point and source of inspiration. State Secretary Fahimi sincerely acknowledged the efforts and commitment up to this point and expressed support for the approach of integrating all social actors:
In Germany, the committed and constructive cooperation between trade unions and employers associations is part of the DNA of the model of our social market economy. Without them as strong social partners there would be less social cohesion in our country, and our economy would not be as successful. The State Secretary added that the long-term success of the model depended on creating a basis for negotiation characterized by mutual respect and responsible balancing of different positions.
Both sides agreed to continue their exchange of views on social-policy projects within the framework of a bilateral workshop. The focus will be on the topic of pensions and old-age provision. Furthermore, it was agreed to hold an exchange of ideas with Tunisians living in Germany on how to use their skills for trade and business in Tunisia.
State Secretary Fahimi spoke with Employment Minister Ladhari about the employment situation in Tunisia with a particular focus on the high level of youth unemployment and the large regional differences in employment. State Secretary Fahimi highly appreciated the existing successful cooperation between the German and Tunisian public employment services and offered further support regarding the implementation of the national employment dialogue in Tunisia.