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Wednesday, 6 April 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy - Eastern Dimension - Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy - Southern Dimension

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE). (LT) Madam President, the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy is one of our most important tasks. The events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere are remorselessly breaking down many stereotypes in our minds: that most people in the Middle East or North Africa do not care about human rights, and that they are used to living under dictatorial regimes. The revolution in the Arab world has shown this to be a fallacy.

A few weeks ago, I visited Egypt on the day the referendum was taking place in the country on amendments to the constitution. Everyone we met talked about freedom, justice and democracy. Most stressed that they need a different kind of support from the European Union. Support is needed to strengthen civil society, establish political parties and defend human rights, so that future parliamentary and presidential elections are democratic, free and fair. The democratic processes taking place there are very fragile and vulnerable, and we must help them in a timely manner.

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