The Italian government on Monday urged the European Union to back democracy in Tunisia, calling it a "model" for the Mediterranean region.
"The EU should ensure support for the young democracy of Tunisia, which is a model in the Mediterranean," Italy's foreign minister Angelino Alfano tweeted.
Alfano sent the tweet from Brussels, where he is attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Tunisia has been hit by a wave of protests this month and rallies have taken place in at least 10 different areas after the government raised value-added tax and social contributions, and increased some prices on goods in its 2018 budget.
Over 800 people have been held during the unrest since 7 January, the interior ministry said last week. Demonstrators accused police of a violent crackdown.
Tunisia has struggled economically since Ben Ali was deposed as president in 2011 at the start of the so-called Arab Spring uprisings and protesters argue conditions have not improved since.