Monday

26th Jun 2017

EU convenes emergency meeting on Egypt

  • More clashes are feared after Friday prayers end (Photo: Globovision)

EU foreign ministers may be called to Brussels for snap talks on Egypt in the coming days.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) said on Thursday (15 August) that ambassadors on the bloc's Political and Security Committee (PSC) will hold a first round of emergency talks on Monday morning.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It noted they will "assess the situation unfolding in Egypt and co-ordinate the member states' and EU position and possible actions."

He added they will "prepare a possible meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, whose date will be announced in due course."

Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino told press the ministers might meet as early as Tuesday.

Denmark has set the tone by suspending two bilateral aid projects in reaction to events on Wednesday, when the Egyptian military killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Cairo.

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt told Reuters that EU-level and International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid might also stop.

"We will have to look at the different EU programmes to see which ones are appropriate and which ones are not," he said.

"It will be tricky for the IMF as well to go forward in this situation … The IMF board will have to assess if there is a government that can be seen as credible in terms of economic policy, which doesn't seem to be the case," he added.

He noted there are limits to EU influence, despite its close contacts with the Egyptian military and the Union's financial incentives.

Referring to last minute pleas by EU Middle East envoy Bernardino Leon to army chiefs before the killing began, he said: "We went flat out … I think we did everything we could have done."

For its part, the US on Thursday cancelled a joint military exercise with Egyptian forces due to have taken place next month.

But US President Barack Obama echoed Bildt's comment that foreign intervention is problematic.

"Our traditional co-operation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets," he said.

"I know it's tempting inside of Egypt to blame the United States or the West or some other outside actor for what's gone wrong. We've been blamed by supporters of [ousted Muslim Brotherhood President] Morsi. We've been blamed by the other side as if we are supporters of Morsi," he noted.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also asked the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session.

But inside Egypt, the scene is set for further confrontation at the weekend.

The Muslim Brotherhood plans to hold nationwide rallies after mosques end Friday prayer services, while anti-Morsi protesters plan to hold counter-marches.

Meanwhile, if the EU suspends aid, it could make matters worse.

The Egyptian economy was already suffering from a massive slump in tourism after its 2011 revolution.

Most EU countries are still telling people they can travel to resorts on the Red Sea coast, which is insulated from the unrest by the Sinai desert.

But Russia and the US on Thursday advised nationals against going to any part of the country.

Several Western companies, including Electrolux, General Motors and Shell, also suspended Egyptian operations for the sake of workers' safety.

Echoing earlier predictions by Iran, French President Francois Hollande also on Thursday underlined the EU's fear of a Syria-type conflict unfolding in the Middle East's most populous country.

"[He] urged that everything has to be done to avoid civil war," the Elysee palace said, after the President spoke with Egypt's ambassador to France.

EU diplomat: Both sides guilty in Egypt

The EU's envoy to north Africa has said events in Egypt are "more complex" than a simple story of the army killing Muslim protesters.

EU stops some arms sales to Egypt

EU countries have punished the Egyptian army for massacring Muslim Brotherhood protesters by stopping sales of items "which might be used for internal repression."

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

News in Brief

  1. Berlusconi's party sees comeback in Italian local votes
  2. Low turnout in Albanian election set to mandate EU future
  3. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  4. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  5. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  6. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  7. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  8. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. EU approves rescue of Italian banks
  2. Cohesion policy for a stronger Europe
  3. Cheap meat is a bigger problem for climate and health
  4. Ministers to reject minimum parking spaces for electric cars
  5. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  6. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  7. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  8. EU extends sanctions on Russia