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Press release

Understanding political Islam: shift to democracy needs time

External relations - 08-05-2013 - 15:11
Committee : Foreign Affairs
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"It is a bit simplistic to speak about an Islamic winter after the Arab Spring. The ongoing constitutional processes show that we are on the right path but we cannot yet take the victory of democracy for granted," said foreign affairs committee chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) on Tuesday at a conference on democratic transition in the EU's southern neighbourhood.

Upcoming elections in the EU's southern neighbourhood, the prospects for democratic transitions under way and the challenges of building democratic institutions were among the issues debated on Tuesday by MEPs and high-level speakers, including ministers, parliamentarians and representatives of leading Islamist parties, from Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco at a high-level conference "Understanding political Islam: views from within".

Concluding the first day of the conference, Edward McMillan-Scott (ALDE, UK), EP Vice-President responsible for democracy and human rights, summed up: "All the political and social actors need to show respect for and commitment to democratic values and practices. That is the only way to build institutions representative of all the population. I can assure you, on the path towards democracy and dignity, of the full support of Parliament and all the European institutions."

The second part of the conference, organised in cooperation with Carnegie Europe, the Royal Institute for International Relations of Belgium and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland., is taking place on 8 May, at the Fondation Universitaire, rue d'Egmont 11, 1000 Brussels.

REF.: 20130506IPR08020