"Understanding Political Islam - Views from Within":
- opening by Elmar BROK (EPP, DE), Chairman, EP Foreign Affairs Committee
- extracts of the debate "From Dictatorship to Democratic States"
Lieu: European Parliament, Brussels
End production: 07/05/2013 First transmission: 07/05/2013
The Foreign Affairs Committee is hosting a high level conference on the relations between Europe and its Southern neighbours. The focus of this conference is on the democratic transition, citizenship, balance of power and economic challenges in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood. Representatives of major ruling Islamist political parties from Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco are present in the conference organised in cooperation with Carnegie Europe, the Royal Institute for International Relations of Belgium and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland. In his opening remarks, Elmar BROK (EPP, DE), Chairman, EP Foreign Affairs Committee has called for a better understanding of the social, economical and political realities in the southern region.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Brussels
||Ambience shots before the meeting starts: programme of the conference, arrival of Elmar BROK, Chair of the EP FFAA Committee, cameraman, wide shot.
||SOUNDBITE (English) Elmar BROK (EPP, DE), Chairman, EP Foreign Affairs Committee: "The question is also that a change of power must be possible. In a democratic society, in a democratic state you have always a situation: today's opposition is the government of tomorrow. If that is not a possibility there, then it's not a democracy. Election alone, which gives not a chance because of the procedures and because of the environment, if it doesn't make it possible that a change of power happens, then it's not a democracy. It's using the rules of democracy, the techniques of democracy, but its' not a democracy".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre VIMONT, Executive Secretary General of the European External Action Service: "The solution to all these problems belong to the people in these countries and I think this is not criticized and this is accepted. We shouldn't come up and try to lecture and try to be arrogant about how democracy in these countries should be developed, set up and implemented. But I think there is a right for a debate. There is a right for us to question and to ask questions and to try to better understand what is happening.''
||Cut away shots (2 shots) change of panel discussion.
||SOUNDBITE (Italian) Pier Antonio PANZERI, Chairman, Delegation for Relationship with the Maghreb Countries and the Arab Maghreb Union, European Parliament: '''How can a legislative system based on religion guarantee the freedom of all citizens? There are a number of questions remaining to be answered and I hope this conference will clarify them between us.''
||SOUNDBITE (English) Mustapha EL KHALFI, Minister of Communications, Government Spokesperson, Justice and Development Party (Morocco): ''For the first time, the new Constitution said that we should have a law to give the right to have access to information. Because there is no democracy without a free and responsible press.''
||SOUNDBITE (English) Said FERJANI, former Adviser to the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, Ennahda (Tunisia): ''I think there is a problem, especially in the nascent democracies, that you got many groups that used to be oppressed. And those oppressed groups, whether they are political, non-political, ethnic or whatever, they find that the new democracy is a chance to really speak up and to be very prominent. And they want really to shape up the future of the system."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Said FERJANI, former Adviser to the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, Ennahda (Tunisia): "Whether they will get what they want or not, this is according to the consensus approach within the transitional period. The transition to the democratic system is extremely important and consensus is key, but it has to be as well anchored and do not ignore the results of the last elections. This is the balance that we have to make."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Gehad EL-HADDAD, Senior Adviser, Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party; Executive Director, Nahda Project (Egypt): ''The change that happened in the European or the Western perception in dealing with the Arab Spring and their 'infant' democracies is the fact that we first started with a very good level of trust. And that trust quickly turned into inquisitional nature of questioning our intentions, which means to me this trust is no longer there. This means we need to re-establish that trust, we need to rebuild these bridges of trust. And in the current format of the dynamics of the region, they don't seem to be able to be easily built between institutions. So instead, we have to start building them between individuals that can trust each other and can bring the understanding of each of their institutions together.''
||SOUNDBITE (English) Gehad EL-HADDAD, Senior Adviser, Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party; Executive Director, Nahda Project (Egypt): ''It's new to us; it's new for Arabic populations and for Egyptians to actually have the power of choosing their leaders. Because for the first time in their life, they actually have to make a choice and thus have to analyse what is being offered. What's the proposal? What's the program of that party of the other? They were not brought up to do that; they don't have the culture to do that. So please do not benchmark how our democracy or how our problems are functioning by how have you managed to solve them. Because your history is riddled with very brutal experiences. You've learned the hard way how to build nation states, how to build democratic frameworks."
||Cut away shots (6 shots) The audience of the conference