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EU pledges €90 million to Egypt despite continued human rights violations

Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs, has confirmed that the European Union will be providing financial assistance to the Egyptian military government to the tune of €90 million. She confirmed that "in line with the EU's commitment at the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council on 21 August 2013, EU assistance to the socio-economic sector and to civil society will continue."


Since the coup in July, the EU have been monitoring and watching events in Egypt extremely closely. One of the first foreign representatives to meet the military after Morsi was deposed was a high level EU delegation. Catherine Ashton was the first foreign diplomat to actually meet with Egyptian President Morsi in detention and following her meeting brought news directly from him to the outside world.

The EU External Action Service did not call events that led to Morsi's removal a coup but did acknowledge that events were "disturbing." Since the coup the EU has continued to monitor events closely in Egypt. Despite raising concerns about the military and security forces actions against the Egyptian people the EU has since gone on to acknowledge the Egyptian military interim government's political road map. The road map suggests that elections will be held and a new government in place by summer next year. Yet the EU have still failed to acknowledge that the events were a coup. Egypt and the EU's relationship does not seem to have suffered much in the context of Morsi's removal, despite Egypt having lost its place at the African Union's table and facing much criticism from a number of other international parties.

In this most recent statement from the EU, they raised concerns about "the security forces' violent dispersal and arrests" and "underlined that fundamental human rights have to be respected at all times." Although the EU did declare concerns about the use of arms against Egyptian citizens and call on all member states to halt the sales of arms and arm components to the country, there has been little further action since.

The statement from the EU said that the financial assistance would particularly focus on improving children's, especially girls, access to education and to fighting child labour in Egypt's poorer areas. The commitment came two days after the UN international day for the elimination of violence against women (25 November), which coincided with the Egyptian military's decision to imprison 14 female minors for 11 years.

Tawakkol Karman, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate said the "verdict in Alexandria to sentence 14 girls who participated in anti-coup protests to 11 years in prison reflects the coup's barbarism, showing that it has hijacked the January Revolution's gains. The girls' resistance is proof of the greatness of the Egyptian revolution, which continues in spite of oppression and repression. I salute the 14 ladies who struggle to achieve freedom in Egypt on the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women."

Despite the EU's commitment to human rights it seemed to overlook the continued shocking human rights abuses being perpetrated against the Egyptians and perhaps seemed to miss the irony that it was pledging money for girls to a regime abusing those very same children.

28 Nov 2013, 18.51 UTC – Headline corrected – inserted the missing word "million"

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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