The underlying reason for this is the Europeans' fear that Islamists could gain power. Many still consider authoritarian Arab regimes to be the lesser evil.
Political Islam is not a homogeneous bloc.
It's wrong to focus only on economic cooperation and then to hope that a sufficiently stable system will become democratic more or less by itself. The EU needs to urge its neighbors to pursue both economic stability and political modernization in equal measures.
When it comes to France, it seems to me the fundamental question is how a former colonial power should interact with its former colony.
Of course former colonial powers are always more present and influential. They're the ones who need to defend the EU's values on the frontlines.
Tunisia is extremely dependent on economic conditions in Europe, which is why it also experienced shockwaves from the euro crisis.
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