“We have a duty towards the Egyptian people, do not dash their hopes"
SNP Member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Alyn Smith, has hailed the approval of a strong resolution calling for the EU to take a much stronger role in encouraging reform in Egypt.
Four years after Egypt's historical revolution the country is taking a dramatic step backwards. The European Parliament adopted a resolution reminding "the Egyptian Government that the long term success of Egypt and its people depends on the protection of universal human rights".
In the debate Alyn urged EU representatives to be more vocal on Egypt's clampdown on Egyptian and international NGOs. Egypt's leading NGOs have been subject to a repressive legal environment on top of a smearing campaign in the regime-owned media.
“Egypt is a vital strategic partner in the region; however it has a considerable way to go in meeting our norms. We have a duty to the Egyptian people about shortcomings of their government.
"We have a duty to the Egyptian people who took such enthusiastic part in the Arab Spring, and the revolution to not dash their hopes and let them down.
"Ms Mogherini you have got a common agenda with us and I hope we are in a position to strengthen you in your dealing with the Egyptian authorities.
"I think NGOs are in a particularly dangerous position. I call on Egypt to cooperate with all UN and human rights external organisations and mechanisms and to ratify the Rome Statute to join the International Criminal Court."
Speaking after the debate Alyn said:
"Egypt stands at a crossroads, and the EU risks letting such progress as we have seen slip away. We are in a potentially powerful position to encourage real reform, but to date have been pretty quiet while some of our member states, not least the UK, have been quick to sell weapons and equipment to the regime. As a whole we are giving the most mixed of mixed signals.
"Our duty is to the Egyptian people, not the regime, former regime or any particular organisation. The Egyptian people rightly feel very let down. I hope our still new High Representative Ms Mogherini will give a bit of impetus to the relations the EU progresses in our dealings with the regime. As she said in the debate, I too would not want to declare the Arab Spring over, but if we are not careful we could see a significant reversal."