Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation in Egypt

Delivered in Plenary - 16th February 2011

Mr President

During the first thirty years of Israelís existence, Egypt was its implacable foe. For the past thirty years, the two countries have, mercifully, been at peace.

It is hard to overemphasise how important the Camp David accords are to Israelís security. Israelis are really afraid that the radical Muslim Brotherhood will indeed fill the vacuum created by the Egyptian revolution. It is bad enough that Israel faces the terrorist threat of Hezbollah on the Lebanese border, the fanatics of Hamas launching rockets from Gaza and the existentialist threat from a nuclear-armed Iran. However, an Islamist takeover in Egypt would almost certainly result in the revocation of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and the opening of the Rafah border to Hamas.

The EU should make our help conditional on preserving the peace treaty, and not countenance supporting any political developments in Egypt that threaten the security of our strategic ally. Supporting a democratic Egypt is incredibly important for us, and the economic challenges are massive. I fully support the idea of mobilising loan finance from the EIB and EBRD, as suggested by the High Representative yesterday in the Financial Times. Our political parties and groups in Europe must also help set up secular, pluralist, democratic sister parties in Egypt to compete freely in elections in six months time, when the military will hopefully leave power.