President of the European Union Herman Van Rompuy said Wednesday that “the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have nothing to do with fundamentalism.”
“We witness no extremism, no clash of civilizations, but an episode in the fight for freedom and for justice. This point is also important in view of public opinion in our own countries,” he told the European Parliament.
He was commenting on the results of the special EU summit on Libya held in Brussels last Friday.
Van Rompuy repeated calls for Gaddaf to quit but noted that “the international community, the African Union, the Arab League, the EU, the US, China and Russia could not reach an agreement yet on the best way to remove Khadafi.”
“We keep negotiating to reach an international backing for stopping the current Libyan leadership. The current leadership must go,” he stressed.
Van Rompuy said “the recent events in Bahrein are also most worrisome.”
“We see hopeful progress in Tunisia and Egypt. Change has begun in Morocco, which we welcomed. And there are other countries in the region where change is starting, such as Jordan,” he noted.
Turning to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Japan, Van Rompuy announced that about 20 EU Member States have offered personnel or material assistance which includes field hospitals, water purification units, search and rescue expertise.
“We are also ready to assist in the case the situation in nuclear power plants deteriorates further,” he said.
Meanwhile, EU energy ministers will meet next Monday to discuss the consequences for the energy sector due to the Japanese quake, and EU leaders will have a debate, during their formal summit in Brussels of 24-25 March, on the catastrophe in Japan and its consequences for the world and for the EU.