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Mittwoch, 4. Juli 2012 - Straßburg Überprüfte Ausgabe

17. Lage in Ägypten (Aussprache)
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  Der Präsident. − Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über die Erklärung der Vizepräsidentin der Kommission/Hohen Vertreterin der Union für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik zur Lage in Ägypten.


  Andreas Mavroyiannis, President-in-Office of the Council, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, for the first time ever Egyptians have been able to express their will in choosing peacefully the person and the project carrying their hopes and answering their expectations.

The Foreign Affairs Council of 25 June praised the peaceful conduct of the electoral process which marks an important step in Egypt’s democratic transition. President Van Rompuy, as well as President Barroso, Catherine Ashton and many European leaders congratulated the Egyptians and the new President on this impressive, historic change.

The European Union Electoral Expert Mission and the accredited international civil society organisations have not reported any major and systemic violation which could have changed the outcome of the elections. The European Union delegation played a very useful role in coordinating the witnessing of the elections by its international presence in Cairo.

It is of extreme importance that under President Morsi’s leadership all Egyptians should be able to enjoy their full democratic rights and fundamental freedoms and that an independent and active civil society should flourish. We also welcome all the statements made by the Egyptian authorities and President Morsi regarding their will to uphold Egypt’s international agreements.

The peace and stability of the whole region, our common neighbourhood, is a shared goal by the European Union and Egypt. The peace treaty with Israel plays a fundamental role. The Supreme Court of the Armed Forces has guaranteed that the treaty will remain valid and we trust that the new Egyptian leadership will continue to stick to this principle. We are also confident that the new Egyptian authorities will continue to play a constructive role in addressing the challenges facing the region, including the promotion of Palestinian reconciliation. The transition will continue.

The road towards a deep and sustainable democracy that will meet the aspirations and demands of all Egyptians is still a long one, but Egypt will never be the same. There is no going back.

The addendum to the Constitutional Declaration issued on 17 June by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and its decision to dissolve the entire Lower House of the parliament, is worrying. With this decree the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has assumed legislative powers and has significantly curtailed the powers of the democratically elected President. The Foreign Affairs Council of 25 June expressed its serious concerns regarding this matter. The Vice-President/High Representative Catherine Ashton remains in close contact with the Egyptian authorities.

All parties must find a solution allowing the complete transfer of power to democratically elected civilian rule as swiftly as possible. In this context the announced intention of President Morsi to appoint an inclusive cabinet representative of all forces in Egypt is a very welcome development. It can substantially contribute to the emergence of a national consensus, which is needed during the delicate transitory phase.

The coming months will have a huge impact on Egypt’s future, with the adoption of a new constitution and the likely organisation of new elections. An essential aspect of democratic transition consists in ensuring that everyone can take part in social and political life without fear, regardless of political affiliation, gender, religion or belief. By its very nature a constitution is a founding agreement which must be consensual and inclusive to become a legitimate and durable reference for all citizens.

Therefore we expect that the provisions of the new constitution will: firstly, protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens; secondly, place the army and the police under the control of democratically elected civilian authorities; and thirdly, guarantee the independence of the judiciary.

Egypt can count on the European Union’s strong support in addressing the complex political and socio-economic challenges which lie ahead. We are looking forward to engaging and establishing a close and fruitful working relationship with the new President and with the future government, with the aim to further deepen our bilateral relations.

In order to do so the former dialogues between the European Union and Egypt should be resumed as soon as possible. One of our priorities is the drafting of a new action plan reflecting the objectives of the new neighbourhood policy as defined in the March and May 2011 communications.

In this context the meeting of the task force with Egypt scheduled for this autumn will be a unique opportunity to show the European Union’s commitments to Egypt’s democratic transition. The Vice-President/High Representative will welcome the European Parliament’s involvement and constructive input in the task force.

Ultimately the responsibility for Egypt’s democratic transformation in future will be in the hands of the Egyptians themselves. But the European Union will continue to do its utmost in helping them to achieve this great endeavour.


  Hans-Gert Pöttering, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! In Ägypten ist in einem gewaltfreien Wahlkampf ein Präsident gewählt worden. Das ist sehr zu begrüßen und für Ägypten ein sehr bemerkenswerter Vorgang. Die EVP-Fraktion wünscht dem neuen Präsidenten Ägyptens, Mohammed Mursi, alles Gute, und wir hoffen, dass sich eine gute Zusammenarbeit entwickelt.

Die ersten Äußerungen des neuen Präsidenten sind sehr ermutigend. Was er gesagt hat zu seinem Verhältnis zu Minderheiten, insbesondere auch zu den Christen, zu den Kopten, ist etwas, was vorbildlich werden könnte für die arabische und muslimische Welt. Herr Präsident Mursi kann sich sogar vorstellen, dass ein Kopte als Vizepräsident sein Vertreter wird, und damit würde er etwas machen, was im Gegensatz steht zu anderen Äußerungen aus der arabischen Welt, z. B. zu dem, was der Großmufti von Saudi-Arabien, Scheich Abdul-Asis bin Abdullah, am 12. März 2012 gesagt hat – und ich wundere mich, dass es kaum eine öffentliche Reaktion in Europa und in der Welt gefunden hat –, der nämlich davon gesprochen hat, dass auf der arabischen Halbinsel alle Kirchen zerstört und keine neuen gebaut werden sollten.

Wenn man jetzt in Ägypten einen anderen Weg geht und zum Ausdruck bringt, dass Religion und Politik sich vertragen, dann wäre dies ein ganz neues Beispiel dafür, dass muslimischer Glaube und Politik zusammenzuführen sind. Ich sage ganz ausdrücklich als Christ: Es gibt keine christliche Politik, aber es gibt Politik aus christlicher Verantwortung. Entsprechend kann es auch keine islamische Politik geben, aber es kann Politik geben aus dem muslimischen Glauben. Und wenn da die Würde des Menschen und das menschliche Leben im Mittelpunkt stehen, dann ist das etwas, dem wir alle unsere Zustimmung geben können.

Ein positives Signal ist auch, dass Präsident Mursi die internationalen Verträge und damit auch den Vertrag von Camp David zwischen Staatspräsident Sadat und Ministerpräsident Begin – ich glaube aus dem Jahr 1980 – anerkennt. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn Herr Mavroyiannis mir zuhören würde. Herr Kollege Mavroyiannis, Herr Minister Mavroyiannis, ich wäre Ihnen dankbar, wenn Sie mir zuhören könnten und ich bitte, das von meiner Redezeit abzuziehen. D. h., wenn Israel jetzt anerkannt wird und bleibt, ist das ein positives Zeichen. Aber wir bitten auch Israel, dass es jetzt seinerseits alles unternimmt, dass es zu einer Zwei-Staaten-Regelung kommt und dass die Siedlungspolitik aufhört.

Und eine letzte Bemerkung: Wir sehen, dass sich die Zivilgesellschaft in Ägypten nicht frei entfalten kann. Gegen Nichtregierungsorganisationen und internationale Stiftungen, so auch die Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, ist wegen angeblich illegaler Tätigkeit ein Gerichtsverfahren eingeleitet worden. Der Prozess wurde heute fortgesetzt, und wir fordern die ägyptischen Behörden auf, dass diese Prozesse eingestellt werden, dass die Arbeit der Menschen aus Europa und der Welt, die sich dort in Ägypten für die Zivilgesellschaft einsetzen, auch anerkannt wird, sodass auch die Zivilgesellschaft in Ägypten ihren Beitrag zu Demokratie und freiheitlicher Entwicklung leisten kann.


  Pier Antonio Panzeri, a nome del gruppo S&D. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, possiamo dire che finalmente l'annuncio ufficiale della proclamazione di Morsi, leader del partito Giustizia e libertà, ha chiuso una prima fase della vicenda politica egiziana, e questo non era assolutamente scontato, infatti la vigilia, i giorni precedenti la proclamazione dei risultati, sono stati scossi da due discusse sentenze della Corte costituzionale.

Con la prima, il supremo organo giudiziario ha dichiarato incostituzionale la legge di isolamento politico che attestava l'illegittimità della candidatura di Shafiq alle elezioni presidenziali e con la seconda ha giudicato incostituzionale la legge elettorale per le elezioni parlamentari e sulla base di questo ha sciolto il parlamento e questo potrebbe avere ripercussioni anche sull'assemblea costituente. A complicare le cose si sono poi aggiunti gli emendamenti alla dichiarazione costituzionale varati dal Consiglio superiore delle forze armate che indeboliscono fortemente i poteri del presidente e aboliscono il potere legislativo autonomo fino all'approvazione di una nuova Costituzione.

Nel primo discorso in qualità di presidente, Morsi, e ce ne rallegriamo di questo, ha inviato un messaggio di unità e conciliazione cercando di tranquillizzare le componenti della società egiziana. Quanto alla politica estera, ha ribadito di tenere fede agli obblighi internazionali preesistenti.

Vedremo ora se alle parole seguiranno i fatti, in ogni caso, dopo un periodo di estrema incertezza e instabilità, l'elezione del nuovo presidente potrebbe finalmente aprire una fase nuova che possa da un lato fare procedere speditamente l'Egitto verso l'ampliamento della democrazia e dei diritti e dall'altro poter avviare gli sforzi per far ripartire il sistema economico e porre rimedio alla perdurante crisi finanziaria.

In questo contesto bisogna rendere più chiaro ed evidente il ruolo dell'Unione europea, anche attraverso la task force dell'Unione europea-Egitto. L'Europa deve essere pronta a lavorare con il nuovo presidente per rafforzare i rapporti bilaterali, per sostenere e condurre a buon fine il processo di transizione democratica e per il superamento della criticità economica e finanziaria che potrebbero mettere a rischio la stabilità del paese.


  Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – 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.


  Malika Benarab-Attou, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, depuis la chute du Président Moubarak, en février 2011, l'Égypte est dirigée par le Conseil supérieur des forces armées, qui s'est attribué le pouvoir de légiférer et de rédiger la Constitution. Comment ne pas être inquiet?

C'est dans ce contexte que le 24 juin dernier, Mohamed Morsi, du Mouvement des Frères musulmans, a été élu. Pour beaucoup d'Égyptiennes, l'élection de Mohamed Morsi fragilise les droits de la femme. Il faut rappeler que les députés islamistes avaient précédemment proposé de réformer une disposition qui permet aux femmes de divorcer sans l'accord de leur mari. De même, ils ont tenté de faire passer une loi interdisant aux femmes de demander le divorce.

Les femmes doivent être écoutées et leurs revendications entendues. Sans elles, la démocratie en Égypte ne sera pas possible. Elles demandent la mise en œuvre des dispositions de la Charte sur les droits des femmes égyptiennes, établie l'année dernière par plus d'un millier de femmes et approuvée par un demi-million de citoyens égyptiens, hommes et femmes. Ce document consacre des droits fondamentaux tels que les droits de participation à la vie politique et économique, la représentation au sein du gouvernement et l'égalité devant la loi. La justice égyptienne doit protéger les femmes contre toute forme de violence.

Nous devons absolument soutenir ces revendications, qui sont légitimes. Mme Ashton le fera-t-elle? Quelles mesures envisagera-t-elle pour accompagner l'Égypte sur la voie démocratique? Comment nous, Européens, pouvons-nous répondre aux craintes de ces jeunes et de ces femmes qui craignent que l'arrivée des islamistes …

(Le Président coupe le micro de l'oratrice)


  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, President Morsi is Egypt’s first democratically elected President of the post-Mubarak era. Whilst free and fair democratic elections are a great step forward for Egypt’s people, I believe it is also essential for Morsi to keep two vital manifesto promises. Firstly, he must uphold the longstanding peace treaty with Israel to prevent regional destabilisation, and he should recommit himself strongly to help find a lasting peace deal for the Arab-Israeli conflict with a two-state solution. Secondly, he must protect the rights of the sizeable Christian Coptic community, another non-Muslim minority in this country, and protect them from the persecution perpetrated against them by Salafi extremists.

I therefore welcome President Morsi’s pledge to include Christians and women in his new government. He should now also publicly distance the Muslim Brotherhood from the extremist elements who wish forcibly to include a Saudi Wahabi-style Sharia clause in the constitution, which would lead to disastrous Iran-style isolation for Egypt and possibly to a mass exodus of Christians and ultimately to the collapse of the Egyptian economy.


  Marisa Matias, em nome do Grupo GUE/NGL. – Senhor Presidente, de facto a eleição do novo Presidente egípcio na era pós Mubarak é uma boa notícia, mas nós não podemos iludir-nos e estas eleições presidenciais não fecham, de forma nenhuma, aquele que é o processo de transição que está a ocorrer no Egito.

Foi bem referido que a dissolução do parlamento, dias antes das eleições presidenciais, coloca vários riscos em cima da mesa e, neste caso, o poder que está concentrado no Conselho Superior das Forças Armadas é, no mínimo, exagerado, tem poder legislativo, reduziram o poder do Presidente e, além disso, têm ainda nas suas mãos a definição das mudanças na Constituição. Ora, tudo isto coloca-nos algumas preocupações e deve-nos colocar algumas preocupações porque os egípcios correm o risco de ficar reféns do poder militar e do regresso ao passado, com a falta de um elemento fundamental que é o parlamento democraticamente eleito.

Não nos cabe a nós fazer a mudança no Egito. Cabe aos egípcios. Mas acho que nós europeus teremos de estar ao lado de todas as mudanças que proponham a reposição daquilo que é a legitimidade democrática e de um parlamento democraticamente eleito.


  Bastiaan Belder, namens de EFD-Fractie. – Het contact met christenen in Egypte leerde mij gisteravond nog dat zij met veel zorg vervuld zijn over de huidige situatie in hun vaderland.

De geruststellende woorden en gebaren van de nieuwe president en moslimbroeder Mohammed Mursi nemen hun vrees voor uiteindelijke ontneming van de leefruimte door islamistische krachten allerminst weg. Per slot van rekening verbraken de moslimbroeders sinds de val van het Mubarak-regime minstens drie keer op cruciale momenten hun beloftes. Daarom doe ik een klemmend beroep op de Hoge vertegenwoordiger oog en hart te hebben voor de maatschappelijke rechtspositie van de christelijke minderheid in de EU-contacten met de Egyptische autoriteiten.

Een tweede punt waarvoor ik de inzet van de Hoge vertegenwoordiger vraag tegenover Caïro, betreft de handhaving van het inmiddels ijskoude vredesverdrag met buurland Israël. De Europese Unie dient derhalve van de Egyptische legerleiding te verlangen dat zij de veiligheidssituatie in de Sinaïwoestijn herstelt en daarmee tegelijkertijd de zuidgrens met Israël effectief beschermt en garandeert.


  Franz Obermayr (NI). - Herr Präsident! Viele ägyptische Christen fürchten, dass mit dem neugewählten Präsidenten, dem Muslimbruder Mursi, der Weg letztlich in einen islamischen Staat führt, und der ihren Alltag dann tatsächlich zur Hölle machen würde. Die Kopten machen ca. 10 bis 20 % der Bevölkerung in Ägypten aus, also ca. 10 Millionen Menschen. Nicht alle trauen sich auch zu bekennen. An wirtschaftlicher Unterdrückung und Missachtung ihrer religiösen Bedürfnisse sind sie gewöhnt. In einer islamischen Gesellschaft würden sie aber de facto zu Rechtlosen degradiert werden. Die islamische Übermacht in der Region ist nicht neu, aber während sie früher staatlich bekämpft wurde, ist sie nun eben Staat. Die blutigen Anschläge gegen Christen sprechen Bände – keine Spur von arabischem Frühling!

Lady Ashton sollte umgehend mit einer Delegation vor Ort die Lage der Christen evaluieren. Die EU sollte auch sämtliche Zahlungen an Ägypten mit der Einhaltung der Menschenrechte junktimieren.


  Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE). - Señor Presidente, celebro que las recientes elecciones presidenciales en Egipto hayan transcurrido sin mayores problemas y que los resultados hayan sido aceptados, pero me parece claro que estas elecciones y las inesperadas decisiones tomadas por el Consejo Superior de las Fuerzas Armadas pocos días antes ponen de manifiesto la existencia, en realidad, de una dualidad de poder en Egipto.

Son momentos delicados. Creo que es esencial que estos dos polos, dos centros de poder, dialoguen y cooperen en esta etapa y pongan en marcha una transición ordenada hacia la normalidad democrática. Me alegro de que el Gobierno que elija próximamente el Presidente Morsi vaya a ser, al parecer, un gobierno de composición amplia que represente a amplios sectores de una sociedad como la egipcia, que es plural.

También será muy importante la elaboración de una nueva Constitución. Confío en que establezca un sistema democrático pluripartidista, respetuoso de los derechos humanos, incluidos los derechos de las minorías. No podemos olvidar, como otros oradores han dicho, la importancia de la minoría cristiana, cuyos derechos deben ser plenamente respetados y no ser discriminados.

Egipto, Señorías, es un país clave en el mundo árabe y también en toda la región. Lo que allí suceda tendrá repercusiones en el resto del mundo musulmán. Egipto puede ser un ejemplo, como ha señalado el presidente Pöttering. Es también muy importante que los responsables políticos egipcios sean conscientes de la necesidad de que sus decisiones no desestabilicen la región, que ha sufrido numerosos conflictos. Celebro que los vigentes compromisos internacionales vayan a ser respetados.

Señorías, la Unión Europea no puede estar alejada de lo que sucede en Egipto. Es un país muy importante, repito, situado en nuestra vecindad mediterránea. Debemos acompañar esta transición, procurar ayudar en lo posible sin perjuicio, claro está, de la defensa de nuestros valores e intereses.

Y, por último, quisiera expresar mi solidaridad con la Fundación Konrad Adenauer, que está sufriendo, desde hace meses, una difícil situación en Egipto.


  Saïd El Khadraoui (S&D). - De afgelopen maanden waren boeiende tijden in Egypte, met veel drama, veel spanning ook. Met presidentsverkiezingen die parallel liepen met een discussie over een nieuwe grondwet en dus over de macht van die president, met een parlement dat naar huis werd gestuurd.

Nu, de conclusie is wel dat een tegenstander van het militaire regime de verkiezingen heeft gewonnen, maar dat tegelijkertijd de militairen op vele terreinen de touwtjes in handen houden. Ik denk persoonlijk dat wij, ondanks de moeilijkheden, het positieve moeten zien in die ontwikkelingen. De Europese Unie heeft nu de opdracht om bij te dragen tot het succes van die democratische overgang.

Een bijzonder belangrijke uitdaging wordt om het land economisch weer op de been te krijgen. Het toerisme is zowat in elkaar gestort. De buitenlandse investeringen blijven uit en de kassa is leeg. Bijgevolg zou ik willen vragen welk initiatief de Hoge vertegenwoordiger wenst te nemen om snel bij te dragen tot een herstart van de economie in Egypte, hetgeen ook een voorwaarde is voor een succesvolle democratische overgang.


  Sajjad Karim (ECR). - Mr President, I have recently returned from a visit to Egypt along with other colleagues. It was before the presidential elections and quite clearly there was a very difficult situation: a power struggle taking place with SCAF, the constitution still in a state of flux. Parliament was still constituted at that time.

We had an opportunity to have a dialogue with the elected Members whilst we were there, and I have to confess to this House that I was left less than confident that those Members would lead to an agenda of openness and liberalisation. I have real concerns for the rights of religious minorities and women.

But what is the EU agenda to support the Egypt that we have in front of us today? We have to support it, but not in such a way that those in power can nullify those with an alternative view. Our support must be for those elected representatives who wish to develop a society built on fundamental freedoms and human rights, on shared values.

Mr Pöttering speaks as a Christian. I respond as a Muslim. We speak the same language – one of basic humanity, and we have to weave that into the basic society of the Egypt that is developing today.


  Kristian Vigenin (S&D). - Mr President, from the very beginning we knew that the Egyptian transition would be a long one with ups and downs. We have many reasons to be worried about Egypt: the institutional uncertainty, the economic and social crisis, the continued control by the military, and the strong support for Islamist parties, moderate and less moderate.

Despite all the difficulties, the Presidential elections were organised and held in an acceptable way. They showed that secular and moderate democratic forces have a majority in Egypt. The only problem was that they were divided among several candidates, and I think they have learned their lessons.

The new President Morsi appears to be a reliable person who understands the enormous responsibility to keep the nation united, to protect minorities and to secure the peaceful continuation of the transition process in Egypt. I ask that we give him a chance, that we recognise that he is an element of stability in the country, and that we do our best to encourage his first promising steps.

Now we have to concentrate on the next parliamentary elections, to try to support the liberal and secular parties in order to avoid a new crushing victory by the Islamists, especially their Salafist branch. The other task we have is to increase the pressure on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces so that they prepare their exit from power.

Power should be in the hands of the people, and that should be the task we have to achieve together: the Council, the Commission, our new revised neighbourhood policy should be directed in support of this transition for the social and economic development of the country, and we should not be distracted by the fact that the President of the country now represents the Muslim Brotherhood. We have to judge him and any political party in power by its deeds and not by our expectations, the political background and their history.


Catch the eye


  Richard Howitt (S&D). - Mr President, many of us feared that the delay in the presentation of the presidential election results in Egypt was cover for some form of rigging or manipulation of the votes. So, like other colleagues who have contributed to this debate, I think it is now clear that a transition has taken place in that country, and that is something we should welcome without, of course, endorsing one political party or another.

There was a prospect of the whole Arab Spring actually being stopped in its tracks if this election had failed, so I believe that some hope is retained following what has happened in Egypt today.

With some other Members of this House, I met representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. They told us that they are committed to pluralist democracy and to women’s and minority rights. I do not think that we should take the sort of aggressive stance about political Islam that we sometimes hear from the other side of this House. Nor do I think that we should be naive. But I do think we should hold the Muslim Brotherhood to the pledges they have made to us, and that should inform the European Union’s continuing relations with Egypt and our continuing support for the Arab Spring.


  Judith Sargentini (Verts/ALE). - Ik heb eigenlijk een verzoek aan u, Voorzitter. Wij hebben de verkiezingen in Egypte gezien. Wij prijzen ons gelukkig met een voor het eerst vrij verkozen president, mijnheer Mursi. En hij heeft het moeilijk, want voordat hij kon beginnen heeft het leger hem al een aantal bevoegdheden ontnomen. Ik zou willen voorstellen dat dit Europees Parlement haast maakt met het uitnodigen van president Mursi om ons hier te komen toespreken, om zo het signaal aan Egypte te geven dat wij praten met eerlijk en vrij verkozen volksvertegenwoordigers en presidenten en dat wij hem als ons aanspreekpunt zien en niet het leger.

Dat is mijn verzoek aan u en ik denk dat als dit Europees Parlement zo'n verzoek inwilligt, wij dan het Egyptische volk en de president een hart onder de riem steken.


(Ende des Catch-the-eye-Verfahrens)


  Andreas Mavroyiannis, President-in-Office of the Council, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, let me just say a few words about some of the remarks that were made by distinguished Members of the European Parliament.

Firstly, the crackdown on NGOs receiving foreign funding is a cause of great concern. NGOs are an important element in all modern democratic societies. As you know, support for civil society is a component of our new European Neighbourhood Policy. The European External Action Service has followed this issue very closely. High Representative/Vice-President Ashton has expressed her deep concern about the restrictions on civil society organisation in Egypt in two statements and before this Parliament. The issue has also been addressed in the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 27 February 2012.

Finally, when charges were upheld against NGO employees an EU demarche was carried out at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 21 February 2012 to reiterate our concerns and to request the postponement of the investigations until a new NGO law is adopted. As you know, the trial has been postponed to April 2013 and the travel ban imposed on the NGO workers has been lifted. However, charges have not been dropped. This is why the European External Action Service will continue to give the highest attention to this issue and will keep close contact with the Egyptian authorities, the Member States, our American partners and NGOs to follow up on the forthcoming developments.

Some of you also underlined the importance of upholding the bilateral agreement between Egypt and Israel. The High Representative/Vice-President is certainly keeping a close watch on this issue but, as you have seen, the new Egyptian President has indicated in no uncertain terms his intention to stick to this agreement. Of course we need to remain vigilant but we must recognise the importance of that statement.

I would like to conclude by thanking honourable Members for this fruitful exchange of views about the opportunities and challenges that Egypt is facing in the aftermath of the election of President Morsi. In this respect the forthcoming developments after the dissolution of the Parliament and the constitutional addendum on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will require special attention.

Honourable Members I believe, as you do, that the European Parliament has a special role in supporting the promotion of human rights and democracy around the world. In this regard, Egypt is a case in point. The utmost should be achieved to support the democratic transition, and the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country should continue to be carefully assessed. In that context, as Mr Pöttering rightly said – and I present my highest respects to you, Mr Pöttering, and also my apologies for what was perceived as a moment of distraction, but as a matter of fact we are trying to see how to take your comments into account – special attention must be paid to the freedom of religion and belief, not forgetting women’s rights.

On behalf of High Representative/Vice-President Ashton, I assure you that the European Union will continue to pay the greatest attention to Egypt. We are looking forward to engaging with the new President and the forthcoming government.


  Der Präsident. − Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

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