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

Speech on situation in Egypt during July plenary session

Mr President, the Egyptian people have been joined by us and many across the world in celebrating the historic moment of the election of the first President to be elected democratically and, most importantly, as a non-military President. Or, so it seems. As the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces dissolved the Parliament and extended its own powers – reaching into the sphere of legislative and executive powers – we also stand with the Egyptian people in understanding that there is a long way to go before Egypt is truly democratic. The question is what President Morsi will be able to change, given that the essential elements of a democracy, such as a separation of powers and the rule of law, are not in place. Effectively Egyptians are still living under military rule. We ask the new President to abolish immediately military trials for civilians and martial law. It is unacceptable that so many people are still in prison for their political convictions, and it is even more unacceptable that today people are still being sentenced without a proper trial. Egypt will only be able to claim to be democratic if these military trials come to an absolute end, and if the human rights of all Egyptians are respected. The EU, led by Vice-President/High Representative Ashton, should engage with the Egyptians and pressure all those in power to respect the rights of all Egyptians. Elections should be free and should lead to a parliament which truly represents the people and which is equipped with legislative powers. We will give President Morsi the benefit of the doubt, while confirming that the EU’s ‘more for more’ principle of granting more market access in return for more respect for human rights, democracy and minority rights – specifically those of women – will be respected. We will judge old and new powers in Egypt on their actions, and will remain ready to help ensure that this difficult but important transitional period brings an actual improvement worthy of the word ‘revolution’ – a turning point from repression to freedom.