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Egypt, Ukraine and the EU’s double standards

The comparison between Egypt and Ukraine reveals the policy of double standards which the EU adopts

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Published: Updated:

There was once a Ukrainian president called Viktor Yanukovych who faced humiliation in the country’s 2004 presidential elections. Back then, he was declared the official winner but faced massive protests leading his victory to be ruled fraudulent.

The opposition has once again forced his fall from power after his government failed to follow through with a free trade agreement with the European Union.

In 2009, Yanukovych announced his willingness to run for the 2010 presidential elections. He won against his competitor Yulia Tymoshenko after he attained 48.95 percent of the votes and she attained 45.47 percent. Years passed, and people once again decided to take to the streets to isolate Yanukovych and force him from power. After this, EU countries froze his accounts and the European commission immediately recognized Oleksander Turchinov as an interim president. The EU further supported the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who fought for European values such as freedom of speech.

Regarding Ukraine, the EU pledges its support for “hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.” Meanwhile, regarding Egypt, it overlooks the thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

In another part of the world, Mohammad Mursi became Egypt’s president on June 30, 2012. He then attempted to “Brotherhoodize” the state and distort the opposition, deprive people of freedoms and enforce a dictatorial constitutional.

A year after he entered office, massive protests were held on June 30, 2013 for the sake of toppling him. It all ended with Mursi’s ouster and the head of the supreme constitutional court was assigned as interim president.

But the EU’s reaction was different this time; some member countries still disagree with what happened. They disagree despite the fact it has been eight months since this popular revolution erupted and despite the massive popular referendum which was held under the new authority.

Comparison

The comparison between the two countries reveals the policy of double standards which the EU adopts. Although the two are similar, the EU reaction was completely different. Regarding Ukraine, the EU pledges its support for “hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.”

Meanwhile, regarding Egypt, it overlooks the thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets. Regarding Ukraine, the EU rushed to offer economic aid worth 11 billion euros. Meanwhile, some EU countries rushed to halt military aid to Egypt at a time when the country faced a fierce war against terrorism in Sinai.

The previous comparison shows that the EU stance and its political bias do not result from a bias towards freedom and the people’s will but from espousing a different view of freedom for the global north and south. EU stances are thus based on the nature of the people being dealt with, their borders, political interests and perhaps their color.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on March 9, 2014.

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Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy

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