TUNIS: Germany offered itself a very nice gift on the occasion of the celebration of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation – named after the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (1949-1963) – of the 40th anniversary of its establishment in Tunisia. According to the first conclusions (the others will be revealed from 16 June) of a study conducted by the Sigma Conseil on the perception of Germany and Europe in Tunisia commissioned by this organization affiliated with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) , the land of Goethe is in the process of conquering the hearts and minds of the latter.
Admittedly, France remains solid in first place in this hit parade, but perhaps not very much anymore, for Germany is falling behind.
Thus, if, for more than 86.3% of the thousand people surveyed, France remains “the country with which Tunisia has the closest connections”, only 41.6% feel close to it.
Germany is very far behind in terms of the density of relations (4.4%), on the other hand it does better in terms of proximity to Tunisians (24.5%). “Ten years ago, Italy was number two,” recalls Hassen Zargouni, CEO of Sigma Conseil.
Germany’s image is good for more than 90% of Tunisians and even very good for almost half. When asked what this country represents to them, “a majority of Tunisians cite only positive qualities”, the head of the Sigma Council notes: “Organized, serious, industrial, developed, technological power, credibility, etc.” and, Last but not least“an open country that agrees to welcome the labor force of all countries”.
In addition, 74% of Tunisians say they are ready to work in Germany.
In general, more than 60% of the respondents are satisfied with the Tunisian-German connections, and more than 85% consider them to be very good. More importantly, over 88% want them narrower. Which leads Hassen Zargouni to say that “there is a great appetite among Tunisians in Germany”.
The proof is that more and more Tunisian matriculation examiners are choosing to take their higher education in Germany (almost five thousand five hundred against thirteen thousand for France), and that the number of Tunisians taking German courses – sixty thousand, according to Hassen Chaari, chairman of the Tunisian-German Friendship Association – is much higher than those who learn French (thirteen thousand).
Which leads Samy Allagui to predict that “Germany will soon oust France in Tunisia”. This general practitioner, by German mother, is hardly surprised that this country is rising in the esteem of the Tunisians. He attributes this to the increase in his involvement – politically, economically and financially – in Tunisia after the revolution on 14 January 2011.
“Thanks to the Arab Spring, Germany was deployed in several countries, including Tunisia. In our country, we have seen the arrival of several German associations and organizations, including the German Development Bank (KFW), and the number of officials at the German embassy has increased. from seventeen to seventy, making it necessary to build a new headquarters (on the shores of the lake north of Tunis), ”emphasizes Samy Allagui.
But if the Konrad Adenauer Foundation commissioned this study conducted by Hassen Zargouni’s polling and market research firm, it’s not just to be able to gargle about this budding Germanophilia of Tunisians.
The Germans also want to understand the latter better and perhaps try to predict the future of this country in the short and medium term. In fact, as far as Tunisia is concerned, Germany has two reasons for concern.
As Caroline Schmidt, Deputy Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Tunisia, explains, “the profound upheavals on the world stage, such as the fallout from the crisis in Covid-19 and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine will have consequences, the extent of which can not yet be predicted at present. Not only for Europe, but especially for the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, including Tunisia, which are above all exposed to risks to their food security.
Another cause for concern, “the political and economic development of Tunisia since 25 July is being followed with concern in Europe, not only by parliamentarians but also by civil society”. The Germans are particularly concerned that “Tunisian public opinion (…) is generally positive about developments since 25 July”, while “opposition and dissatisfaction are only expressed publicly by certain actors. This gap in attitudes and perceptions may new challenges for the relationship between the two coasts, ”warns Caroline Schmidt.