Procedure : 2013/2542(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0096/2013

Texts tabled :

B7-0096/2013

Debates :

Votes :

PV 14/03/2013 - 8.8
CRE 14/03/2013 - 8.8

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2013)0095

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 133kWORD 63k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0095/2013
6.3.2013
PE507.366v01-00
 
B7-0096/2013

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure


on Egypt: recent developments (2013/2542(RSP))


José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Elmar Brok, Cristian Dan Preda, Roberta Angelilli, Elena Băsescu, Arnaud Danjean, Mário David, Sari Essayah, Salvatore Iacolino, Eduard Kukan, Nadezhda Neynsky, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Hans-Gert Pöttering, Jacek Protasiewicz, Tokia Saïfi, Peter Šťastný, Alf Svensson, Laima Liucija Andrikienė on behalf of the PPE Group

European Parliament resolution on Egypt: recent developments (2013/2542(RSP))  
B7‑0096/2013

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt,

–   having regard to the statements by High Representative Catherine Ashton of 20 June 2012 on the political situation in Egypt, of 13 September 2012 on the launching of a new EU-Egypt Task Force, of 5 December 2012 calling for a national political dialogue and of 25 December 2012 on the referendum on the draft Constitution and to the statement by the High Representative’s spokesperson of 25 January 2013 on the killings in Port Said, Egypt,

–   having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Egypt of 27 February and 25 June 2012 and 31 January and 8 February 2013,

–   having regard to the EU-Egypt Task Force meeting of 13-14 November 2012 and its conclusions,

–   having regard to the EU-Egypt Association Agreement of 2001 (entering into force in 2004), strengthened by the Action Plan and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) agreed in 2007,

–   having regard to the constitutional referendum held on 15 and 22 December 2012,

–   having regard to the Commission memorandum ‘EU’s response to the ‘Arab Spring’: the state-of-play after two years’ of 8 February 2013,

–   having regard to the European Council conclusions of 8 February 2013 on the Arab Spring,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, to which Egypt is a party,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas in the presidential elections held in May and June 2012 Mohammed Morsi won with 51.7 % of the votes;

B.  whereas on 13 and 14 November 2012 the EU-Egypt Task Force, co-chaired by High Representative / Vice-President Catherine Ashton, met in Cairo and agreed a major package of economic and political assistance to help Egypt with its ongoing transition, with the EU undertaking to provide almost EUR 5 billion in loans and grants for 2012-2013;

C. whereas the draft constitution was approved on 15 and 22 December 2012 by referendum, with 63.8 % voting in favour but with a turnout of only 32.9 %;

D. whereas on 26 January 2013 21 supporters of the Al-Masry local football club were sentenced to death, being held responsible for the death of 74 people after a match on 1 February 2012 in Port Said; whereas the legal process is ongoing and could eventually include other fans;

E.  whereas the European Union is opposed to the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances and has consistently called for its universal abolition in order to protect human dignity,

F.  whereas these death sentences led to street riots and clashes with police in the days that followed, resulting in further casualties and injuries,

G. whereas on 28 January 2013 the Shura Council ratified new security measures at the request of President Morsi, including the imposition of a state of emergency in the canal governorates of Suez, Ismailia and Port Said, and giving Egypt’s armed forces the authority to safeguard state institutions against saboteurs and restore security;

H. whereas increasing street violence and political tensions in the country are symptomatic on the one hand of the current breakdown in dialogue between government and opposition and on the other hand of a sharply and quickly deteriorating economic situation;

I.   whereas women are increasingly facing sexual harassment and assault in public places; whereas these actions against women are a severe violation of women’s rights;

J.   whereas there are growing concerns over restrictions being placed on freedom of belief and religion as well as relating to the activities of journalists and bloggers;

K. whereas the draft Law on the Protection of the Right to Peacefully Demonstrate in Public Places would impose serious limitations to the right to peaceful public assembly;

L.  whereas the draft Law on Civil Associations and Foundations would impose tight restrictions on NGO funding, notably from foreign sources, and could also prevent or limit the ability of civil society organisations to observe parliamentary elections;

M. whereas the European Union has repeatedly expressed its commitment to freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, and has stressed that governments have a duty to guarantee those freedoms everywhere in the world;

N. whereas the success of the European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as that of the reforms in the area of human rights, and specifically women’s rights, will depend on the involvement of civil society in the implementation of the relevant policies;

O. whereas Article 2 of the 2004 EU-Egypt Association Agreement states: ‘Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect of democratic principles and fundamental human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement’;

P.  whereas the current economic crisis is compounded by the stalling negotiations on a USD 4.8 billion loan from the IMF; whereas the measures to be taken to receive the loan include tax increases and other measures to reduce the budget deficit, which currently stands at over 10 %, thus creating the risk of further public protests;

Q. whereas early parliamentary elections have been called for the end of April; whereas President Morsi has invited the opposition parties to a national dialogue in order to ensure the integrity and transparency of the elections; whereas the opposition parties are critical of the timing of the elections and their credibility, and the main opposition coalition has decided not to participate in them;

R.  whereas the Constitutional Court has rejected ten articles of the draft election law as being unconstitutional; whereas this decision could result in the elections being delayed;

S.  whereas the Egyptian Government has extended an invitation to the European Union to observe the elections;

1.  Reiterates its solidarity with the Egyptian people in this critical period of transition, and stresses that the process of democratic change demands sustained effort and commitment; reaffirms once more its full support for the continuation of Egypt’s democratic transition;

2.  Is deeply concerned over the recent escalating political tensions, violence and unrest in Egypt;

3.  Profoundly regrets the considerable loss of life and the large number of injuries resulting from last month’s clashes and extends its condolences to the families of the victims; calls for an independent inquiry into the events leading to these deaths and injuries and for effective and concrete measures to be taken to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice;

4.  Reiterates its opposition to the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, including the most recent ones, and calls for a moratorium on its use;

5.  Underlines the need to continue with reform of the criminal justice system in order to guarantee an adequate legal framework for tackling impunity and protecting human rights;

6.  Underlines the necessity of developing, in dialogue and consultation with civil society, a proper legal framework to guarantee the right to peaceful demonstrations and peaceful public assembly and to allow civil society organisations to operate without undue constraints and benefit from assistance from foreign sources; encourages protesters, activists and opposition forces to conduct their protests in a peaceful way; reiterates its call for the total lifting of the state of emergency;

7.  Expresses its full support for the commitment shown by those organisations and the importance and high quality of their work for the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights;

8.  Is deeply concerned over the increasing violence and abuse being suffered by Egyptian women, and calls on the Egyptian authorities to take appropriate action to reverse this trend;

9.  Expresses its concern over the restrictions on freedom of belief and religion; welcomes, in this context, the creation on 18 February 2013 of an Egyptian Council of Churches, made up of the five largest Christian denominations in the country and with a mandate including the promotion of a Muslim-Christian dialogue;

10. Is concerned over the actions taken against journalists and bloggers; calls on the government to take appropriate measures to ensure freedom of the press;

11. Is deeply concerned at the increasing political polarisation between government and opposition; expresses its full support for the opening without delay of a national dialogue with all national and regional stakeholders;

12. Welcomes the Egyptian Government’s invitation to the EU to observe the upcoming parliamentary elections; calls on the government to take all necessary steps to ensure the transparency and credibility of the elections; calls on the Egyptian authorities and the opposition forces to find a compromise solution in order to reverse the escalation of violence and division, and stresses the importance of holding free, fair and transparent elections with the participation of all forces, in order to continue the transition to a genuine democracy in Egypt; encourages the EU and its Member States to continue supporting and assisting Egypt’s authorities, political parties and civil society in their efforts to achieve this goal;

13. Is deeply concerned at the rapidly deteriorating economic situation of Egypt and the protracted negotiations on a loan agreement with the IMF; welcomes the renewed efforts of the government to continue these negotiations;

14. Welcomes the work of the EU-Egypt Task Force and the agreement of a major package of economic and political assistance for the Egyptian transition; calls on both sides to place democratisation, human rights, gender equality and partnership with human rights and women’s rights organisations at the forefront of the discussions, in line with the European Neighbourhood Policy as revised following the Arab Spring;

15. Welcomes the draft law reinstating the free trade zone in Port Said;

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

 

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