Mr President, it is clear where the Liberal Group of the European Parliament stands – with the Egyptian people, their rights, freedoms and opportunities. This has been our group’s position for decades. We supported human rights when Mubarak was repressing speech, women, association and political parties and when he imprisoned politicians. We will continue to do so as long as is necessary, to stand by the people of Egypt.
Despite the brave struggle for freedom that so many Egyptians undertook, and despite the toppling of the Mubarak regime, the promise of a true transition is hampered by the way in which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is copying the oppressive tactics Mubarak used. It is time for civilian rule.
The latest crackdown on internationally-respected NGOs is one of many worrying examples. Repressing organisations working on human rights and fundamental freedoms in the name of nationalism is misplaced and dangerous. We support the Egyptian organisations that have spoken out against this move and call on the SCAF immediately to drop charges against international NGOs and their staff.
It is an increasingly-connected world, and Egypt cannot close itself off from the international community. It should not want this if it wants to see trade and the economy blooming, which is essential for the well-being of the Egyptian people. Europe would like to develop a genuine partnership with the new Egypt. We are willing to open up our markets, to take away trade barriers and to assist in the development of Egypt’s economy. However, the clear condition is genuine reforms in the field of human rights – and let me highlight especially women’s rights, democracy and respect for minorities.