Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-02-02-Speech-3-168-000"

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"Madam President, in the European Parliament we have often spoken about respect for democracy and human rights and freedoms, but the truth is, and this is something I am sure we can acknowledge this evening, that we have often given priority to something else, namely political stability and good business relations. Now the realisation has come over us almost like a thief in the night that people in the Arab world also aspire to and yearn for freedom. We are now talking a great deal about the risks associated with the transition. It is clear that they do exist. There is probably no one here who would stand up and give three cheers for the Muslim Brotherhood. However, we know that, in the long run, it is freedom and respect for human rights and freedoms that every individual desires and also has the right to attain. We now need to ensure that the EU is no longer just a spectator, allowing things to happen as they will. Instead, we must take the initiative and, just as Baroness Ashton emphasised here, try to be involved in building democracies. It is impressive that the young people have started these revolts, partly perhaps due to the means of communication that are now available. Therefore, I do not believe that we should read too much into these movements from an ideological or religious point of view at present. However, whatever they stand for, in the long run it is freedom and respect for human rights and freedoms that must be given priority by us here in this Chamber and by the European Parliament as a whole."@en1

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