Egypt: Elmar Brok Welcomes EU Export License Restrictions

August 27, 2013

Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, has welcomed the 21 August 2013 decision by EU foreign ministers to suspend all export licenses of equipment that could be used for repression. He underlined that the EU should not take sides and that there is no alternative to dialogue between the military and Muslim Brotherhood to restore democratic order in Egypt and lay the foundations for the country's future.

Mr Brok's full statement:

"In the past few days we have seen an escalation of tension and violence in Egypt and too many people have lost their lives as a consequence.

There has been widespread condemnation of the repressive measures taken by the military. I'm in no doubt that the military have exceeded their role and reacted in a way which is disproportionate, contrary to democratic principles and not conducive to a political solution of the crisis.

I therefore welcome today's decision by the EU foreign ministers to suspend all export licences of equipment which could be used for internal repression.

At the same time I would like to recall that the responsibility does not just lie with the military. Also the Muslim Brotherhood bears a heavy responsibility for the current situation. We should not forget that, although elected democratically, President Morsi has, during his mandate, taken a series of measures which were clearly undemocratic.

Not only has he not responded to people's expectations for improved living conditions, he has also deliberately tried to impose an Islamic constitution based on the sharia, without any consultation of other political forces and despite the opposition of secular forces. This is why 22 million people have signed a petition demanding his removal.

We should not forget either that during Morsi's mandate we have seen the proliferation of radical Islamic groups in the Sinai.
The Ministers today have rightly condemned not only the disproportionate violence by security forces but also all acts of terrorism against security forces in Sinai and acts of violence against non-Muslim communities.

It's important that we do not take sides but remind the military and the Muslim Brotherhood that there is no alternative to dialogue and that the majority of Egyptians, those who have fought for a better Egypt, the civil society, the Internet generation expects them to restore, through dialogue, democratic order in the country and to lay the foundations for a tolerant, inclusive society, mindful of all political forces and of all communities. I'm comforted to see that the EU Foreign Ministers have stated clearly that any review of EU assistance to Egypt cannot and will not call into question our support to the poorest and most vulnerable persons.

We must continue to support our partners and help them create the conditions for a political, consensual transition to democracy. This will take time and patience but also determination and concerted action with other international actors, first of all the United States and the Arab League."


To read more on the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, click here.

Photo by CTUWS-Egypt.