EU leaders demand Egypt transition ‘now’

Europe’s 27 leaders demanded the transition to democracy in Egypt start “now” in a joint statement Friday that also condemned violence in the country “in the strongest terms”.

Meeting at a one-day summit, the leaders “called on the Egyptian authorities to meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people with political reform not repression.”

They called for restraint on all sides and no further violence as the country begins an orderly transition to a broad-based government.

“The European Council underlined that this transition process must start now,” added the statement, the European Union’s toughest response yet to the turmoil in Egypt.

It also issued a veiled threat of suspending EU aid, which though well below US assistance amounts to almost half a billion euros ($610 billion) in the current three-year period.

“The basis for the EU’s relationship with Egypt must be the principles set out in the association agreement and the commitments made,” it said.