Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

EU sheds no tears over Morsi's departure

  • Morsi (r) and Ashton last year: The EU's top diplomat voiced hope the post-Morsi government will be more inclusive (Photo: European External Action Service)

The EU on Wednesday (3 July) tacitly approved the Egyptian army's defenestration of President Mohamed Morsi amid mass civil unrest.

The bloc's foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, in a statement published shortly after soldiers placed Morsi and his top people under house arrest, said the Union "remains unequivocally committed to supporting the Egyptian people in their aspirations to democracy and inclusive governance."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

She urged the junta to "rapidly" organise new elections.

She also said the future government must be "fully inclusive and ... ensur[e] full respect for fundamental rights, freedoms and the rule of law."

Earlier the same evening, as the dramatic events in Egypt were still unfolding, the Lithuanian EU presidency, speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg on Ashton's behalf, listed Morsi's sins.

Its EU affairs minister, Vytautas Leskevicius, said the Islamist leader was guilty of creating a "political stalemate" with secularist opponents, of arresting NGO activists, of restricting women's rights and of mismanaging day-to-day affairs, such as policing of petty crime and ensuring electricity and food supplies.

"Many people are feeling worse off than they were before 2011 [when Morsi came to power]," the Lithuanian minister said.

MEPs from the left and right also voiced sympathy with the millions of Egyptians who went on the streets in recent days calling on Morsi to go.

Spanish centre-right deputy Jose Ignacio Salafranca said "the voice of the people has to be listened to."

Dutch Liberal Marietje Schaake said Morsi had "lost legitimacy" in a "power grab" which went beyond the abuses of his predecessor, pro-Western dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Belgian Socialist Veronique de Keyser noted that while Morsi had been freely elected, his Muslim Brotherhood party ran the country's economy into the ground and installed an Islamist constitution which did not respect the rights of all Egyptian people.

An EU diplomatic source told EUobserver: "It's one thing to be democratically elected, but it's another thing when you have several million people against you on the street."

The contact added that the Egyptian security forces, whose chiefs date from the Mubarak era, were acting for the sake of "the safety and security of the country, making sure it doesn't descend into civil war."

EU institutions kept up to date with developments via the Cairo-based Arab League's Crisis Room.

The crisis centre, created with EU support last year, monitors Arab media and physically overlooks Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital - the epicentre of the anti-Morsi rallies.

EU institutions also have inside contacts with the Egyptian military and intelligence services.

But the EU diplomatic source noted that Europe, at this stage in the new process, has little say on how things evolve.

"It's a very Egyptian thing," the contact said.

With the Muslim Brotherhood, which originated in Egypt, but which has chapters in several Arab countries, denouncing the events as a "coup d'etat," Morsi's overthrow risks inflaming tensions between Islamists and secularists in the region.

Ed Husein, a Middle East scholar in the Washington-based think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in the New York Times on Wednesday that Sunni Muslims could be radicalised by the brotherhood's "humiliation."

He noted: "The more extremist Islamists in the Arab world will say: 'We told you so. Democracy does not work. The only way to create an Islamist state is through armed struggle'."

Khalil al-Anani, a scholar at the UK's Durham University, who was in Cairo on Wednesday, told the Bloomberg news agency: "The collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood will lead to dangerous consequences … creating despair among young Islamists."

But some Arab diplomats have other concerns.

"There is a risk that the Muslim Brotherhood will come out on the streets [in Egypt] … But I am equally worried that the military now has more power than it ever did," an Arab contact said.

"They have shown who is really in charge," the diplomatic source added.

EU and US thank Egypt for Gaza truce

EU and US statements after one week of Gaza hostilities underline the new status of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  2. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  3. EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'
  4. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  5. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  6. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  7. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  8. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us