Not completely derailed from their original summit agenda by Egyptian affairs, the leaders of the European Union have been discussing a competitiveness pact and closer economic coordination.
Arriving in Brussels, however, British Prime Minister David Cameron took time to warn the authorities in Egypt about any hooliganism.
Cameron said: “If we see on the street of Cairo today state-sponsored violence, or the hiring of thugs to beat up protesters, then Egypt and its regime would lose any remaining credibility or support it has in the eyes of the watching world, including Britain.”
This conveyed tightened nerves over Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s tenacity. But the opprobrium is not unanimous. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi put in a good word for Mubarak.
Berlusconi said: “Egypt can have a transition towards a more democratic system without a break from a president like Mubarak. In the West, above all in the US, he has always been considered the wisest of men, and a reference point for the whole Middle East.”
Mubarak may still be a reference for the whole Middle East but the EU leaders had their own bailouts to discuss, notably over strengthening the 440 billion euro stability fund for the euro zone.
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