Plenary speech on the situation in Egypt

Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group – Mr President, Egypt is on the brink of economic, political and social instability. This should trouble us and should make us take decisive action. For two and a half years now we have heard that the EU will proceed according to the ‘more for more’ principle. More reforms towards human rights, democracy, rights for minorities and women will be rewarded with more market access and more support. We made the promise to the people of Egypt –­ and throughout the region –­ that we would replace our interest‑driven politics and policies with a values‑based partnership. It is my intention to keep you to that promise. But what do we do? I would like to hear from you why you did not respond to Morsi’s power grab last November? That was the litmus test. Do you have a clear plan for how the ‘more for more’ principle will play out in practice? This Parliament looks forward to receiving it. Where are the pledged funds and how strong is conditionality? Can you also explain why you did not call on the Egyptian authorities to abolish the death penalty when no less than 21 people were sentenced to death? You have seen the demonstrations and the chaos. We may not have been able to prevent that, but we should have made it clear where we stand. These sentences are now confirmed. High Representative Ashton, I call on you to step up your public support for the rights and freedoms of the Egyptian people. We should support the Egyptian protest against laws that would seriously limit civil society in doing its work. I call on you to make it clear to the Egyptian Government that it will not receive any direct funding until significant progress is made towards respect for human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and minority and women’s rights. Let me clarify that it is not merely an issue of stopping the harassments, but also about making sure that laws will not be turned against women for a very long time. I believe we will lose the Egyptians and our credibility alike if we do not practice what we preach. (Applause)