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Onsdag den 11. september 2013 - Strasbourg Revideret udgave

10. Situationen i Egypten (forhandling)
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  President. − The next item is the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the situation in Egypt (2013/2820(RSP)).

 
  
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  Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. − Mr President, the last time that I was in this Chamber before the summer break, I was on my way to Egypt. I have been to Egypt three times since we last met. This summer has been a summer of contacts and discussion, with many countries but most of all with many people within Egypt.

I went then, as I have been ever since, to urge them to go forward towards the democratic future that those who stood up in Tahrir Square – and sometimes died in Tahrir Square – stood up and said they wanted, stood up and said they believed that this was the right future for their country.

I went on that visit when I left this House to see Mohammed Morsi, then in his Presidential Palace, and I told him that I believed that he and his country were running out of time.

It was obvious that the failure to deliver political and economic change to the people of Egypt had led to the prospect of huge demonstrations and civil unrest. My meetings with civil society on that occasion showed how far their alienation was from the government: not one organisation said anything remotely positive about the situation that they found.

Now honourable Members know that we had been working for many months to support a political solution that would have seen real progress, progress to be inclusive with the then opposition and to listen to the people. A process that would have helped to ensure a more democratic and more prosperous Egypt.

So I left on that occasion with a real, deep sense of foreboding. It seemed to me that there was a President who believed it was enough to be elected, but not someone who understood that democracy demanded much, much more than that.

I have been very fortunate in our Special Representative, Bernardino Leon, who has built strong ties with all sides of Egyptian political life, and I pay tribute to him for the very many weeks that he has spent in Egypt on my behalf. That meant that when I went back with my Director, Christian Berger, we had real access to all of those who were trying to promote a democratic future. To all the key political forces within Egypt.

But I want to be absolutely clear: it is our principles that have guided us in our discussions in Egypt. We do not take sides in terms of the choices that people make, but we are very clear. We believe in a constitution that will support democracy. We believe in the rule of law. We believe in justice and we believe in respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and those are the messages we have given consistently to Egypt over the last two years – in the 11 visits I have made, in the very many more visits that our Special Representative has made, our colleagues in the Member States have made, that you have made, that so many others have made. These are fundamental principles upon which the country needs to go forward.

So when we saw the dramatic changes, I went back to Egypt to press these points to those who had then taken power. To General al-Sisi, President Mansour, to Vice-President ElBaradei, and to Foreign Minister Fahmy.

I talked about the need for inclusivity and the danger, the real danger of excluding parts of society, the need to release political prisoners. I met with the Tamarod young people, the movement who had collected over 20 million signatures and who had been fundamentally part of the growing concern that so many people wanted to express, and of course, I saw the Freedom and Justice Party on that occasion.

But I was asked to go back to Egypt both by international stakeholders, including the United States and most importantly for me, by the Egyptians themselves – not to mediate – but to spend time talking with all to help them to find the elements of an agreement that could help them move forward.

At that moment there was a real fear, and you could feel it, that we would see clashes as the Brotherhood were occupying the squares. We could see there were people who wanted to move against the squares, partly out of fear – there was genuine fear about the build-up of weapons, I saw no evidence of that but I did not go into the squares – and of course growing concern about the terrorism in Sinai.

With all of them we worked through the elements of a plan: a plan that could build confidence between them, that could ensure that inclusivity, that could strengthen and deepen what I called our value-based approach. And we gave those elements to all groups, all individuals that we met – and they remain valid today; they will support the future of an inclusive Egypt

As you know, I saw again all the leaders that I had seen before, but I also met the Salafist Nour party, the 6 April Movement and I went to see Mohammed Morsi where he was being held. With all them we worked through the different elements in great detail and we told everyone what we thought was required. Bernardino Leon went into the squares and spent days there talking to the people there too.

And we talked to countries in the region, all of those with an interest. You will have seen that we collaborated closely. One manifestation of that was the visit that Bernardino Leon led to the prison to see Al-Shatar, with the Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, and the foreign ministers of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

I have to tell you that the growing level of violence and the polarisation that we saw even then was really alarming. I could feel the antipathy on the streets to the Brotherhood. I could see the growing numbers of people who were demanding action. The growing worries of religious groups – the Christian community, with good reason, as they saw later so many churches destroyed.

I brought the Foreign Affairs Council together in August in the wake of what we saw was terrible violence – condemned by me on behalf of the European Union – and our growing worries about the future of the country. Honourable Members will have seen that Member States decided to suspend their licences for equipment that could be used for internal repression and are reviewing their security cooperation including arms exports.

But I want to say something too about our funding. We do not provide budget support for Egypt at the present time. We do support socio-economic projects for people, especially the most vulnerable, in healthcare, in our school feeding programmes, in looking to help poor neighbourhoods and programmes for women. I proposed to Member States that we should continue with those programmes. I honestly believe we must continue to support the people. And I hope that I will have support in this House to continue to do that.

We did not fail in the action that we took. We did what we set out to do. We remain in touch with the Egyptian authorities, with politicians on all sides on a regular basis. We do not take sides – we work to try and help achieve the best for the people. And we continue to stand by the people of Egypt who overwhelmingly want a return to democracy, to civilian rule and a strong and peaceful future.

And as I have indicated to Egypt, I am ready to go back to offer our support and our help – not our interference. It is without question a great country, and a strong partner for the European Union. We want this country to succeed, we want to support it to do so, but to do so with the principles and values that we hold.

 
  
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  José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, en nombre del Grupo PPE. – Señor Presidente, señora Alta Representante/Vicepresidenta de la Comisión, Señorías, en primer lugar quisiera expresar mi reconocimiento por los esfuerzos desplegados por la Alta Representante y el Servicio Europeo de Acción Exterior, incluido el Representante Especial, Bernardino León, durante este verano, en sus labores de mediación, y valorar muy positivamente el hecho de que la señora Ashton pudiese encontrarse con el señor Morsi, pues ha sido la única representante del mundo occidental que ha podido mantener este contacto. Por lo tanto, a diferencia de otros conflictos, la diplomacia europea cuenta y existe en la crisis de Egipto.

Por lo que se refiere a la polarización de la situación, señora Alta Representante, yo creo que la contribución de la Unión Europea debería pasar, en primer lugar, por apoyar el cese de la violencia y, como usted decía muy bien, por establecer un diálogo inclusivo y un entendimiento entre las distintas fuerzas del país, cegadas y viciadas por siglos de odios de toda naturaleza. Asimismo, creo que habría que restablecer de forma creíble un proceso de transición democrática que empezase por la elaboración de un proyecto de constitución que respetase los derechos y libertades fundamentales, un referéndum para la aprobación de ese proyecto de constitución, una elección presidencial y elecciones legislativas que pudiesen dar una respuesta y una normalización democrática a la situación que vive el país.

Pero no nos engañemos, señora Ashton, esta hoja de ruta se puede implementar, pero lo que no se puede conseguir de la noche a la mañana es el progreso económico y social. La Unión Europea tiene una gran fuerza: somos el principal socio comercial, el 80 % del turismo que recibe el país lo enviamos nosotros y somos el principal inversor.

Sería, señora Ashton, muy cuidadoso a la hora de considerar la ayuda de la Unión Europea y, en este contexto, como no nos equivocamos, como usted decía muy bien, es ayudando y apoyando a la sociedad y al pueblo egipcio sobre la base de nuestros valores.

Voy a terminar, señor Presidente, con una pregunta, y es que me gustaría saber, señora Ashton, si usted piensa que en el proyecto de Resolución común, que mañana va a votar el Parlamento Europeo, el hecho de lamentar la toma del poder por los militares constituye un elemento positivo para garantizar y continuar garantizando una adecuada y privilegiada interlocución de la Unión Europea con las autoridades egipcias y con el resto de la sociedad civil.

 
  
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  Véronique De Keyser, au nom du groupe S&D. – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Haute représentante, je voudrais moi aussi vous remercier de vos efforts. Vous avez cité deux excellents collaborateurs, Christophe Berger et Bernardo Leone, qui, c'est vrai, ont fait un travail remarquable.

Pour nous, aujourd'hui, la situation en Égypte est véritablement un cas d'école, parce qu'elle pose beaucoup de questions, par rapport à ce que nous avons voulu dans la nouvelle politique de voisinage et par rapport à ce que nous avons espéré des révolutions arabes.

C'est en vrac que je vous livre ces questions, auxquelles vous avez d'ailleurs parfois répondu. Comment, aujourd'hui, parler ou discuter des questions des droits de l'homme avec un gouvernement sans sembler faire du néocolonialisme? On a beaucoup de réticences, on a beaucoup de difficultés à le faire aujourd'hui, même avec la nouvelle équipe.

Comment appliquer une nouvelle politique de voisinage qui ne sanctionne pas le peuple égyptien et – vous l'avez évoqué aussi – qui prévoie des projets centrés sur la société? Comment défendre, comme nous le faisons aujourd'hui, le nécessaire pluralisme de l'Égypte, alors que nous avons été nombreux à émettre des critiques sur la manière dont le président Morsi et les Frères musulmans avaient conduit le pays? Enfin, comment faire aujourd'hui confiance à des forces militaires, à l'armée égyptienne, qui était le bras armé du pouvoir de Moubarak et auxiliaire de son régime économique? Comment lui faire confiance de manière à ce qu'elle suive sa feuille de route et à ce qu'elle conduise vraiment l'Égypte vers la démocratie?

Autant de questions qui nous agitent aujourd'hui et dont vous allez trouver la trace dans la résolution commune que nous avons rédigée. Nous suivons la situation de très près, avec inquiétude et réserve, mais aussi avec confiance dans votre équipe.

 
  
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  Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, in the turmoil that Egypt has gone through in the past two-and-a-half years, and especially during diplomatic efforts last summer, the EU has taken a lead role and has managed to stay in touch with most of the key stakeholders.

This is a position that we ought to seek to maintain as we urge the interim government to hold an independent inquiry into the excessive use of force that killed Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, and also urge the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, in turn, not to glorify violence and death, for example by calling for martyrdom.

Political prisoners must be released and there should be no military trials for civilians. I am very concerned about reports that the 6 April Movement’s offices have been raided, that activists have continued to be harassed by different governments and that journalists cannot do their work safely. This polarisation must be overcome for the sake of Egypt. There must be a transition, in an inclusive way, to parliamentary elections and a constitutional process. The rule of law, and laws in general, must protect the rights and freedoms of all Egyptians, whether they be representatives of civil society, women, members of the press or of minorities, or others. No emergency laws will guarantee the rights and freedoms of the Egyptian people. Checks and balances cannot come from the streets but must be embedded in laws.

It is essential, and it is in our European interest, to help Egypt recover socially, politically and economically. For that, stability is essential. A young generation of Egyptians is desperately in need of prospects for shaping their own lives. I believe that a strong partnership with a new Egypt is still possible but it must be based on values. The EU must continue to state clearly that we have the Egyptian people, rather than our own policies, at heart, and that they are the focus regardless of which governments may come and go. We must ensure, too, that there are sufficient safeguards and that there is accountability for the funds we will transfer to Egypt when the time is right. You have the support of this Parliament, Baroness Ashton, and I hope we can move forward constructively.

I would appreciate it, too, if you could say a few words about the situation in Sinai, which is also of great concern.

 
  
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  Judith Sargentini, namens de Verts/ALE-Fractie. – Sinds de revolutie in januari 2011 heeft de Europese Unie gewerkt aan het herijken van onze relatie met Egypte. De regering Morsi kon op onze steun rekenen, ook al vonden wij een islamistische regering niet het alleraantrekkelijkst. De eerste democratisch verkozen president verdient het voordeel van de twijfel. Wij hebben hem zelfs uitgenodigd hier te komen spreken. Dat kwam er niet van. Maar de EU-Egypte task force was veelbelovend.

Maar Morsi maakte het niet waar. En de massademonstraties in juni dit jaar hadden moeten leiden tot zijn vrijwillige aftreden. Dat hij met geweld werd afgezet en dat de Egyptenaren blij leken met het ingrijpen door het leger, bewijst mijns inziens hoe ver wij nog van democratie staan in Egypte. Maar wat mij na tweeëneenhalve maand nog steeds verbaast, is dat ook hier opluchting lijkt zijn dat wij af zijn van de moslimbroeders in plaats van dat wij ons schamen en de schande zien van een coup d'état.

Wat wij Morsi aanwreven, te weinig inclusief, te weinig mensen meenemen, autoritaire tendensen, dat zien wij nu ook en wij lijken zachter gestemd. En dat vind ik gevaarlijk. Natuurlijk moeten wij ons opnieuw engageren met de regering die er nu zit, maar we mogen niet toedekken wat de laatste maanden onder hun gezag gebeurd is en we moeten ons van onze democratische kant laten zien.

 
  
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  Susy De Martini, a nome del gruppo ECR. – Signor Presidente, baronessa Ashton, uno tsunami ha travolto l'Egitto e l'hanno chiamato "Primavera araba". Le bugie non reggono più, l'opinione pubblica non accetta versioni sbrigative per motivare guerre ben poco umanitarie. Il Parlamento britannico ha bocciato la guerra. Il Congresso degli Stati Uniti la pensa allo stesso modo e, infatti, Obama ha frenato in Siria.

Bene ha fatto lei, baronessa, ad appoggiare la proposta di controllo delle armi chimiche in possesso del governo siriano, ma io le chiedo di non omettere la necessaria verifica anche delle armi chimiche in mano ai cosiddetti "ribelli", dato che più fonti ne testimoniano l'uso. È infatti urgente ridefinire chi sia realmente terrorista, sia in Siria che in Egitto. Non abbiamo diritto di esportare democrazie, né con le bombe né appoggiando gruppi, che sono una cura peggiore del male, come testimoniato dalla persecuzione delle minoranze cristiane.

In Egitto, 22 milioni di cittadini egiziani avevano firmato una petizione contro il governo e 30 milioni sono scesi in piazza pacificamente, ma i Fratelli mussulmani non volevano sentire ragioni e hanno reagito con una violenza inaudita. L'esercito attualmente controlla la situazione, anche se non eletto democraticamente, ma sta difendendo quei 30 milioni di cittadini e ponendo le condizioni per nuove elezioni democratiche. Chi propone interventi armati in quei paesi vuole solo il proseguimento del caos, che rischia di diffondersi anche in casa nostra.

Agiamo con una diplomazia di pace, come sta facendo lei, non solo però distribuendo contributi a pioggia che lasciano il tempo che trovano e di cui, cara baronessa, dovremo dar conto ai nostri contribuenti. Ricordo solo i 5 miliardi di euro all'Egitto per la cosiddetta "transizione democratica". La pace non si compra con i soldi né con le minacce di guerra, ma con la volontà di serie trattative di pace e oggi – 11 settembre – e vorrei ricordare la frase tristemente famosa pronunciata dai terroristi "Con le vostre leggi vi conquisteremo e con le nostre vi distruggeremo".

 
  
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  Paul Murphy, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – Mr President, the brutal scenes of 1 000 people butchered in one week of show trials, of the whipping up of sectarianism tell the true story about what is happening in Egypt. The bloody repression is not simply aimed at crushing the Muslim Brotherhood: it is about shutting down all dissent and closing down the spaces to organise that were opened by the revolution. This is demonstrated by the fact that four of the leaders of the strike and occupation of the Suez Steel Works have been arrested on the orders of their boss. Before General al-Sisi’s military dictatorship, it was Morsi who was prepared to use the security forces against striking workers.

The military, Mubarak and Morsi have nothing to offer except repression and poverty. The magnificent protest of millions, on the other hand, that toppled Mubarak and then Morsi, show what is possible. This movement needs to build its own independent leadership, able and willing to fight for workers and poor, to take power into their own hands.

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera, a nome del gruppo EFD. – Signor Presidente, l'esperienza Morsi è stata amara. L'attuale governo egiziano dichiara di voler portare sicurezza e stabilità in un paese sull'orlo della guerra civile. Sicurezza e stabilità che, peraltro, sono condizioni indispensabili per attuare le riforme democratiche annunciate e far ripartire l'economia del paese, che appare in una situazione difficilissima.

La riforma della Costituzione, nuove elezioni e la proposta del Presidente Mansour con una roadmap per le riforme rivolta a tutte le parti che rinunciano alla violenza, sono le basi su cui poggia il sostegno popolare all'amministrazione attuale. Ma senza un miglioramento delle condizioni di vita della gente comune, il consenso potrebbe svanire rapidamente e con questo la volontà di procedere nelle riforme democratiche.

In questo senso dobbiamo lavorare: il sostegno alla popolazione non è sufficiente perché sporadico e a pioggia; dobbiamo fornire e prevedere un sostegno strutturale al mondo economico, alla piccola e media struttura turistica e artigianale, che credo rappresentino la spina dorsale del paese.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI). - Herr Präsident! Während Europa Waffenlieferungen und Hilfsgelder stoppt, gibt es bereits neue Financiers, allen voran Saudi-Arabien, das sich hierfür anbietet. Und das geht zulasten der in Ägypten lebenden Christen, der Kopten, die bereits zu Mursis Zeiten unter brutalen Übergriffen leiden mussten. Denn neben anhaltenden Angriffen durch die Muslimbrüder im Norden Ägyptens – in den letzten Wochen wurden 35 koptische Kirchen angegriffen, zahlreiche Häuser zerstört, es gab auch Todesopfer – muss man nun durch das saudi-arabische Geld eine Stärkung der Salafisten erwarten. Mehr Einfluss für die Salafisten wird das heißen.

Lady Ashton, wir müssen Ägypten klarmachen, auch den neuen Machthabern – den Militärs –, dass Ägypten in Zukunft in vielerlei Hinsicht Europa brauchen wird. Aber Ägypten muss auch sicherstellen, dass demokratische Grundwerte geachtet werden und ethnische und religiöse Minderheiten zu schützen sind.

 
  
 

(The debate was suspended)

 
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