Plenary speech and resolution on the situation in Egypt

Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group – Mr President, in the turmoil that Egypt has gone through in the past two-and-a-half years, and especially during diplomatic efforts last summer, the EU has taken a lead role and has managed to stay in touch with most of the key stakeholders. This is a position that we ought to seek to maintain as we urge the interim government to hold an independent inquiry into the excessive use of force that killed Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, and also urge the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, in turn, not to glorify violence and death, for example by calling for martyrdom. Political prisoners must be released and there should be no military trials for civilians. I am very concerned about reports that the 6 April Movement’s offices have been raided, that activists have continued to be harassed by different governments and that journalists cannot do their work safely. This polarisation must be overcome for the sake of Egypt. There must be a transition, in an inclusive way, to parliamentary elections and a constitutional process. The rule of law, and laws in general, must protect the rights and freedoms of all Egyptians, whether they be representatives of civil society, women, members of the press or of minorities, or others. No emergency laws will guarantee the rights and freedoms of the Egyptian people. Checks and balances cannot come from the streets but must be embedded in laws. It is essential, and it is in our European interest, to help Egypt recover socially, politically and economically. For that, stability is essential. A young generation of Egyptians is desperately in need of prospects for shaping their own lives. I believe that a strong partnership with a new Egypt is still possible but it must be based on values. The EU must continue to state clearly that we have the Egyptian people, rather than our own policies, at heart, and that they are the focus regardless of which governments may come and go. We must ensure, too, that there are sufficient safeguards and that there is accountability for the funds we will transfer to Egypt when the time is right. You have the support of this Parliament, Baroness Ashton, and I hope we can move forward constructively. I would appreciate it, too, if you could say a few words about the situation in Sinai, which is also of great concern. [embed]/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/JMR-Egypt.pdf[/embed]