This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech on the situation in Egypt

Mr President, this is another urgent appeal for leadership by Vice-President/High Representative Ashton. Early last year the EU made a promise to our citizens and to people in North Africa and the Middle East who called for freedom, justice, human rights and opportunities. We saw the consequences of supporting decades of dictatorial regimes and decided that, even with an uncertain future ahead, the EU needed a more values-based policy to build partnerships with people in these countries. Our promise to reward more democratic reforms with more financial assistance has barely been implemented, but is now being seriously tested. President Morsi made the very bad judgment of grabbing more power than President Mubarak had ever had, placing himself beyond judicial scrutiny. Our efforts to help bring investments and economic reconstruction to Egypt are replaced by serious concern and the need for urgent crisis management. The Egyptian people do not deserve this leadership – inexperienced yet power-hungry. Democracy is much more than ‘one man, one vote’, and relying on checks on power via the streets is not sustainable. Egypt needs the rule of law. And what has been the EU response to this proactive power grab? It took weeks for a very weak statement to be issued, and the first statement by the Vice-President/High Representative after 22 November 2012 was an announcement that the EU would return frozen assets of the Mubarak regime to Egypt. A more poorly timed and wrongly guided message is hardly imaginable. A partnership with the new Egypt is very important to us. When people in our neighbourhood flourish, so do we, and this is not just an economic story. We need to stand firmly for the universal rights of all Egyptian people. And it is disappointing that the EU is not stronger. We are letting the people of Egypt as well as our own promises down. With regard to the referendum and any developments that may unfold we must be much more vigilant or we should stop pretending about conditionality.