Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Europe ups pressure on Mubarak, calling for immediate transition in Egypt

In their strongest language to date, European leaders today demanded that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak begin a democratic transition and ensure the protection of journalists and protesters.

By Correspondent / February 3, 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to Israel's President Shimon Peres (not seen) during joint statements after their meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday. 'We are watching with utmost concern the deteriorating situation in Egypt,' said Thursday's statement, signed by the leaders of Europe's big five - Germany, France, Britain, Italy, and Spain.

Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Enlarge

Madrid

The leaders of Europe’s big five – Germany, France, Britain, Italy, and Spain – demanded Thursday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak begin a democratic transition “immediately” and condemned violence against media as “unacceptable.”

Skip to next paragraph

It was the strongest language used by Europe to date, though still insufficient by some standards.

“It’s not a question of gradually increasing pressure on him. He’s the obstacle," says José Ignacio Torreblanca, senior policy fellow in the European Council on Foreign Relations. "The source of instability is Mubarak. Millions of Europeans came to that conclusion in two hours watching the scenes of violence, but EU leaders haven't after weeks."

IN PICTURES: Exclusive Monitor photos of Egypt's protests

The statement comes several days after three of those nations – Britain, France, and Germany – issued an initial, less forceful statement saying they "recognize the moderating role President Mubarak has played" and urging "him to show the same moderation in addressing the current situation in Egypt.”

Today's statement went a step further, underscoring the growing pressure that European leaders are under to react more decisively against violence that has already targeted several European journalists. Yet it also revealed the continued absence of a united response from the entire European Union.

Leaders calls for 'quick and orderly transition'

“We are watching with utmost concern the deteriorating situation in Egypt,” said today's statement (read here), signed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister David Cameron, President Silvio Berlusconi, and Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. “Only a quick and orderly transition to a broad-based Government will make it possible to overcome the challenges Egypt is now facing.”

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story