In Search of a More Efficient EU Approach to Human Rights: Civil Society and EU Strategies in Egypt

This report aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the EU’s strategy to promote human rights and democracy in Egypt. Largely based on instruments devised within the framework of the EMP and ENP, the EU wishfully counted on a spill-over effect from trade to political reform as well as onto actors’ socialization. This strategy fell prey to Mubarak’s “carrot-and-stick” approach to the nascent NGO sector and its adjusted policy discourse that resonated with Brussels. Drawing upon Mubarak’s mistakes, the post-Revolution regime morphed into an overtly repressive apparatus designed to “kill” civil society and prevent a new 25 January. In this context, is engaging at all costs in political dialogue relevant? Did the EU foreign policy manage to follow suit with Egypt’s political evolution? How can the EU draw upon its past mistakes to craft a more efficient approach to human rights? How can the EU’s economic and political leverage be best used?

Rome, IAI, June 2018, 29 p.
Working Paper 16
Publication date: 

1. Egypt’s Political Economy in a Human Rights Context
1.1 From Mubarak to Sisi: An Overview of the Political Context and Its Human Rights Implications
1.1.1 Mubarak’s Egypt: The Carrot-and-Stick Strategy
1.1.2 Post-Mubarak Egypt: A Copernican Revolution
1.1.3 Morsi’s Egypt: Perpetuating the Legacy
1.2 Grassroots Organizations: From Token Friend to Foe
1.2.1 A general Overview of the Grassroots Sector
1.2.2 The New “NGO Law”: The Revolution’s Legacy
2. General Overview and Evaluation of the EU Policies Towards Human Rights
2.1 The EMP: A Win-Win Driven Approach
2.1.1 The EMP: Political Dialogue Over Human Rights
2.1.2 Political Dialogue Priority: An Efficient Strategy?
2.2 The ENP: Building Upon the EMP
2.2.1 ENI and SSF
2.2.2 Other Complementary Instruments
3. Content Analysis of the Grassroots Actors’ Views on EU Foreign Policies
3.1 Egypt’s Grassroots Actors: Converging and Diverging Dynamics
3.1.1 Human Rights NGOs: Priority Convergence
3.1.2 Popular Committees: Self-Driven Exploration
3.2 Grassroots Actors’ Perception of EU Policies and Instruments
3.3 Substance: Grassroots Actors’ Needs
3.3.1 Needs of Egyptian Human Rights Organizations
3.3.2 A Narrow Gate for the EU: The Annual Reports of the NCHR
4. Innovation in EU Policies: How to Ensure Better Efficiency?

Research area