The leaders of the European Union are preparing their new positions on Egypt for this Friday’s summit amongst themselves.
They are treading carefully amid allegations they have long dealt warmly with autocratic counterparts in Mediterranean countries.
Now that Egypt is worrying them, several leaders have called for a swift political transition there.Events in Egypt live
In the European Parliament, MEP and former prime minister of Belgium liberal Guy Verhofstadt said:
“I think that if the European Union together with the Americans had taken a very firm position from the outset in asking for Mubarak to leave, this violence would have been avoided.”
British European Conservative MEP Charles Tannock suggested the member states’ collective foreign policy line, represented by Catherine Ashton, is slippery ground.
Tannock said: “Baroness Ashton basically speaks for the lowest common denominator. The lowest common denominator is cautious in regime change. Calling for regime change immediately is always a risky issue and also is seen to be interfering in the internal affairs of a country which has been an allied of the West.”
euronews Brussels correspondent Sergio Cantone said: “The EU countries are timidly, bit by bit, convincing themselves that Mubarak is no longer fit to wield power. They are inching towards a Mubarak farewell. In fact, the noise of the Cairo protests is influencing the West’s decision-making process.”