No aid to Egypt without democracy, human rights: EU Parliament

Ahram Online, Friday 15 Mar 2013

European Parliament threatens to halt funds to Egypt, citing Port Said death sentences, human rights violations, and lack of political consensus in Egypt

EU parliament
European Parliament in Strasbourg, France (Photo: Reuters)

The European (EU) Parliament passed a resolution threatening to withhold budget support to Egypt if it fails to take significant steps to abide by human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

In a plenary session on Thursday, the parliament reminded the European Union, that the 5-billion-euro aid package it allocated to Egypt for 2012-2013 is conditional on respect of human rights, democracy and economic governance.

The parliament demanded it "set clear conditions for its aid to Egypt" with a focus on promoting civil society, women's rights and minority rights in the country.

Members also called for Egypt's judiciary to commute the death sentences meted out on 26 January to 21 football fans implicated in the Port Said stadium disaster and demanded a moratorium on the death penalty in Egypt.

The European Parliament also expressed alarm at the rise in violence directed towards women in Egypt, particularly female protesters and women's rights activists, urging for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, and demanded all laws granting police and security forces the right to use unmitigated violence against civilians to be abolished.

The EU body also upheld the Egyptian electoral commission's decision to postpone Egypt's parliamentary elections, which opposition forces had said they would  boycott, and called on the government to seize this opportunity to work on building political consensus ahead of the elections.

The electoral commission was abiding by a ruling issued on 6 March by Egypt's Administrative Court that overturned a presidential decree calling for parliamentary elections to be held on 22 April, after the constitutionality of recent electoral legislation was questioned by the High Constitutional Court (HCC).

Essam El-Haddad, the president's assistant for foreign affairs, flew to Berlin on Friday morning for a two-day visit to discuss the resolution, according Al-Ahram Arabic-language news website.

The EU resolution also stated that EU member states should assist Egypt in retrieving assets smuggled overseas by Egypt's former regime, as a highly symbolic gesture for EU-Egypt relations. 

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