Catherine Ashton EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission in her speech yesterday to the European Parliament on the current situation in Egypt said““We urge calm. We urge restraint. We urge dialogue”.
Egypt faces huge economic and political challenges. The current situation in Egypt is difficult. Protests and violent clashes have taken place in Cairo and other major cities. The country is divided. “More than ever, Europe as a neighbour and a partner has to engage and support Egypt’s democratic transition” said Ashton. A deal with the IMF must be secured and finalized. The IMF arrangement will allow Europe to allocate 500 million euro to Egypt.
Ashton welcomed Egypt’s invitation to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections (22 April). The elections must be held in conformity with the constitution and in a peaceful, inclusive and transparent manner said High Representative.
Egypt must respect and protect the fundamental human rights of all citizens. The EUSR for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, visited Egypt, in February. There he had the chance to meet with civil society groups and other organizations. He conveyed messages of particular concern: on police abuse, torture, and impunity, freedom of expression and belief, women's rights, working conditions for NGOs, and the promotion of economic and social rights. Egypt has shown they will do all the necessary reforms.
“While we have to show ‘strategic patience’ with the political development in the country, we will not remain silent on issues like fundamental freedoms and human rights, at the same time we have to help meet the socio-economic expectations, both the goals of the revolution and the aspirations of the Egyptian people” said Ms. Ashton.