European Council conclusions on Egypt

By European Council
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BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, February 27, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- 3149th FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council meeting

Brussels, 27 February 2012

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"1. The EU welcomes the conduct of elections to both the People's Assembly and the Shura

Council in Egypt and congratulates the candidates and parties that took part in the democratic

process. The EU supports Egypt's transition towards a democratic, pluralist and stable

country. The holding of free and fair elections is a first and crucial step in this regard.

2. The EU welcomes the inauguration of a new Parliament by the end of February. The newly

elected Parliament will face many serious challenges, including in meeting the need for

progress in democratic reform, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental

freedoms, inter alia freedom of expression and assembly. The EU encourages an inclusive and

constructive approach in tackling them.

3. The EU looks forward to the appointment of the Constitutional Committee responsible for the drafting of a new Constitution reflecting a democratic Egypt, protecting human rights and

fundamental freedoms, and the important role of women. The EU emphasises the importance

of an inclusive and transparent drafting process, representative of all elements of the Egyptian

society, including persons belonging to minorities.

4. The EU underlines the importance of transfer of power to civilian rule as soon as possible and encourages the authorities to establish a definitive timetable for the holding of Presidential

elections. The EU reiterates its offer of electoral support. In the meantime, the interim

authorities should ensure the protection of civilians in full respect of human rights and

fundamental freedoms and ensure early completion of investigations into recent violence,

including against religious communities, as well as adequate follow-up of the

recommendations following from these investigations.

5. The EU reiterates its deep concern with regard to restrictions on civil society organisations in Egypt. While fully respecting the independence of the judicial system in Egypt, the EU

intends to monitor closely the ongoing legal proceedings against NGO staff and underlines

expectations regarding due process. Egyptian civil society has played and continues to play a

crucial role in the transition. An active and independent NGO community is fundamental in

any democratic society. EU's support to civil society is a key component of the

revised European Neighbourhood Policy, which is based on mutual accountability and a

shared commitment to the universal values of human rights, fundamental freedoms,

democracy and the rule of law. Therefore, the EU calls upon the Egyptian authorities to do

everything possible to resolve the current situation in a timely and constructive manner. The

EU underlines the importance of the adoption of a new law that would be consistent with

Egypt's international obligations.

6. The EU expresses its deep concern regarding the deterioration of economic situation in Egypt and conveys its continued support, including in the framework of the Deauville Partnership and of the revised European Neighbourhood Policy. It underlines the importance for Egypt to engage in the necessary social and economic reforms and to allow the effective use of available international assistance.

7 Recalling the principles and objectives set out in the Council Conclusions of 20 June 2011,

and its commitment to supporting democratic reform in its neighbourhood, the EU has

outlined an agenda of available assistance to Egypt, including financial support, further

integration of markets and launching of a dialogue on migration, mobility and security. The

EU remains committed to working with the new Egypt, its new democratic institutions and

eventual government in this regard. Egypt remains a key partner in the region sharing the goal

of building stability, peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean and Middle East region."