Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-02-02-Speech-3-107-000"

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"Mr President, I believe that the events taking place at the moment in Tunisia, and especially over the last few hours in Egypt, are both historic and very tragic. They are the ones who want democracy, and the fact that the Copts and the Muslims are now marching shoulder to shoulder is proof enough of what they want, which is a truly open democracy. I shall give you a second example to show why we should not be afraid to call for open democracy in these countries. You all know about Mohammed Bouazizi, the man who in fact sparked off the revolution in Tunisia by his self-immolation. Well, Baroness Ashton, on Mr Bouazizi’s coffin there was no green flag of Islam. There was the red flag of Tunisia, and so these are not Islamist revolutions that we are seeing at present. Quite the contrary, they are revolutions for freedom. Therefore, now that thousands of people have been gathering in Cairo for almost a week, and now that there are demonstrations in Jordan, Yemen, Syria and Algeria, I call on you, Baroness Ashton, to change the European Union’s position. I would like you to speak on our behalf and say clearly today, in this House, that the European Union is 100% behind the people of Egypt and their demands. We want President Mubarak to finally listen to his people and, by stepping down, free his country so that it may enjoy democracy and freedom today. That is the message I would like to hear in the response that you are about to make. We are now hearing that hundreds and hundreds of people have been injured in the last few hours. I am making this point above all because I see a similarity between what is happening at the moment in the Middle East, in North Africa, and what happened in Europe in 1989. That is precisely why I am surprised, astonished and disappointed at the way that Europe is currently making exactly the same mistakes as it made in 1989, and I wish to make that clear. It is incredible, Mr President, that we, the so-called democratic continent, have still not managed to offer our unreserved support to the masses on the streets – masses who are calling for nothing other than our support. Ladies and gentlemen, I have not heard Baroness Ashton offer our support yet, either yesterday or today. Why, Baroness Ashton, has Europe reacted so feebly? In point of fact, we have hardly reacted at all. You reacted, and then Germany, France and the United Kingdom also issued a communication without consulting each other, as if Europe did not exist. I have to say that the only satisfactory European speech came from outside the Union, namely from the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Erdogan, who told Mr Mubarak that he should listen to the demands of his people and that he should therefore step down. That was the only decent response to be heard at European level. I believe that the speech that you are making today is very important for the people on the streets, who may even be fighting for their lives. I believe that Europe has made two mistakes in recent days. Firstly, we do not realise just what an historic moment this is, and, secondly, and much more importantly, we have misjudged the situation. We are afraid – and that is why there is this misjudged communication – that an Islamist regime will come to power after the elections. Well, let me tell you that I am not afraid. I have confidence in the people of Tunisia and in the people of Egypt."@en1

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