Interview of Karel Pinxten, Member of the European Court of Auditors on EU cooperation with Egypt in the field of governance
Luxembourg [town] - European Court of Auditors
On 18 June 2013, Karel Pinxten, Member of the European Court of Auditors, gave an interview on EU cooperation with Egypt in the field of governance, in Luxembourg.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH): So you say EU support for governments in Egypt is well-intentioned but ineffective. Why?
||Soundbite by Karel Pinxten, Member of the European Court of Auditors (in ENGLISH): Well, it is well-intentioned, which means that over the last years the Commission has definitely taken quite a few measures when it gave aid to Egypt. Measures in terms of starting, for example, discussions about human rights, creating a subcommittee, etc., but although the intentions are there, the results are not. So if we compare the intentions and the initiatives taken by the Commission in Egypt over the last years as well under the former regime as another current one, well, the results are not up to the expectations.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH): But aren’t you being a bit naive here? This is a country in turmoil and you are expecting a nice, tidy audit trail.
||Soundbite by Karel Pinxten (in ENGLISH): Well, we are not naive at all, but I think we have to be realistic and I think we are. If you speak about an audit trail, for example, if you look at the budget of the country of Egypt and you don't find any amounts – provisions – for the expenses of the President, you don't find amounts for the huge expenditure of the military, you find a special fund of 4 billion euro, of which no one knows what it’s meant for, where the money comes from, where the money goes to. So it’s, in these circumstances, absolutely impossible to follow an audit trail. So we are not naive, we are very realistic but I think we have to set minimum standards in terms of human rights, in terms of democracy, in terms of the fight against corruption and in terms of a decent public finance management.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH): Ok. In practical terms then, what are your recommendations?
||Soundbite by Karel Pinxten (in ENGLISH): Well… Egypt is a very important country in the area and it is a very important partner for the European Union. In the past, the Commission set forward some conditions for giving aid to the country in terms of human rights, in terms of democracy, in terms of public finance management, in terms of fighting corruption. So what is important is that, if the Commission set forward some conditions that they stick to it that they impose these conditions to those countries, and also to Egypt, if they want to get money from the European taxpayer. So, we have such a thing as European values and if we spent the European taxpayers’ money, the European taxpayer definitely will want these values to get the necessary respect from those who want to have European money.