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EU's billions in aid to Egypt 'under constant review'

EU review their aid to Egypt after killing of 42 in Cairo

AFP, Monday 8 Jul 2013
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Views: 1433

The European Union on Monday condemned the killing of 42 supporters of Egypt's ousted president and said it was keeping its billions of euros in aid pledged to the country "under constant review".

"We are doing all that we can through talking to everyone on the ground to make sure everyone understands the need for peace to be maintained," Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said at a routine press briefing.

The EU has "no plan to change our aid regime", he added in response to queries about why the EU had not condemned last week's military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

But he added: "We are keeping our aid to Egypt under constant review and depending on the situation on the ground we can change."

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement on Monday said its members were demonstrating against the coup when police and troops fired on them outside an elite army headquarters in Cairo, while the military blamed "terrorists" for the deadly shootings.

Asked whether Brussels condemned the bloodshed, Mann said: "We condemn and we regret the violence."

"The most important thing is to return to the democratic process as soon as possible."

The EU was ready to send a political mission to Cairo "when the time is right."

Ashton's spokesman underlined that the EU had sent no budgetary aid to the Egyptian authorities until now "because of the lack of reform", since the bloc's stated policy is to condition financial assistance to progress on rule of law, democratic process and human rights.

At EU-Egypt talks in November following the election of Morsi, the bloc pledged nearly five billion euros ($6.4 billion) in loans and grants for 2012-2013 plus potential loans through the European Investment Bank of up to one billion euros a year.

Last year, the European Court of Auditors said a billion euros of EU aid channelled to Egypt before and after the January 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's reign failed to improve human rights and governance, or reduce corruption.

EU support for improved governance in Egypt overall was "well-intentioned but ineffective," said a highly critical report by the ECA.

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