Parliamentary questions (16 October 2015)
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini:
The EU is committed to promoting and protecting freedom of opinion and expression worldwide. The EU has repeatedly condemned restrictions to freedom of expression in the Middle East, e.g. in a statement released on 28 August 2015 on the sentencing of the Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, the EU stated that ‘Free, diverse and independent media are essential in a democratic society and we expect active steps to be taken to promote a safe environment for journalists’.
The EU continues to work on the implementation of the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Opinion and Expression Online and Offline approved on May 2014. This includes support to freedom of expression through financial assistance and projects. As an example the EU is financing in Jordan a program to support media for EUR 3 million.
As regards the UAE, the EU will continue to seek increased engagement with the authorities on issues of governance, the rule of law and Human Rights, raising individual cases of concern whenever necessary through the most appropriate diplomatic channels. The bi-annual EU-UAE informal working group on Human Rights is one of many avenues to engage in a thorough dialogue with Emirati authorities and Civil Society Organisations on issues of importance such as freedom of expression, the balance between law enforcement and individual freedoms or citizens' political empowerment through electoral reforms. The EU followed closely the recent elections of the UAE Federal National Council (FNC) which witnessed a significant growth in the number of eligible voters and looks forward to the strengthening of interparliamentary ties between the FNC and the European Parliament.
Last updated: 9 March 2016