Speech by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on North Africa and the Arab world

European Parliament, Strasbourg, 6 July 2011
Mr President, Honourable Members, the last time I spoke in this Parliament, in early May, I said that statements could and should be made – but that the priority is action.

You will remember that I announced my intention to establish an EU office in Benghazi.

The EU flag now flies above the courthouse in the newly-named Freedom Square – a symbol not just of our solidarity with its people, but of our practical commitment.

The office is now up and running, experts are arriving each week – working at how to support the security needs ofd the people, and help build the capacity of civil society.

And last week my team was in New York, coordinating our work on Libya with the UN.

Outside the courthouse in Freedom Square, I met some of the people who have been bringing democracy to life in Libya.

They thanked me; they thanked you; they thanked the European Union.

They know that we will stay with them over time, and today I am sure you join me in saluting again the enormous courage of the Libyan people – whether in Benghazi, Misrata, the Western Mountains, Tripoli or the South.

We have stepped up sanctions, to stop arms and money reaching the regime.

We have provided €140 million of humanitarian assistance to those most in need.

Council of the European Union

More news and articles can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow GlobalDefence.net on Facebook and/or on Twitter