Tunisia: Relations with France Pressed by Multiple Contentious Issues

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Economic, Political, Tunisia



On 3 March 2024, French media channel M6 aired a documentary critical of the current economic, political, and security situation in Tunisia, raising tensions between France and Tunisia as an official visit by Prime Minister Hachani kicked off. 

The documentary, entitled “Tunisia: Between Poverty and Dictatorship, the Great Step Backwards,” frustrated many Tunisians. The uproar over the documentary spread quickly enough that PM Hachani commented extensively on it during a joint press conference with French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal. PM Hachani referred to the release of the documentary as “an unfriendly act.” 

The release of the documentary comes as additional diplomatic tensions with France have emerged over the expulsion of two Muslim leaders from France. A Tunisian imam was expelled for controversial statements about the French flag and culture, followed by the departure of a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader from Tunisia, who left France under threat of expulsion. 


Tensions between France and Tunisia have publicly spiked following the release of the French documentary, but the recent events are unlikely to meaningfully derail the historically strong and enduring bilateral relationship. 

While post-colonial frustrations are a persistent aspect of the Franco-Tunisian relationship, the countries continue to have significant economic and cultural exchange, with France leading other countries in foreign investment in Tunisia in 2023. Additionally, France sent over 1 million tourists to Tunisia in 2023. 

While the recent documentary and expulsions have garnered attention, the mutually beneficial relationship is unlikely to experience lasting impacts. 


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