Near and Middle East

As Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the Arabian Peninsula and a close partner of women and human rights organisations in Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran, I often travel to the Near and Middle East. Talking to those in power there is often a balancing act. We need to exchange with them, for example, to organise humanitarian aid or to fight the climate crisis. But it is just as important to clearly name those who commit human rights violations, to support civil society on the ground and to show solidarity with those who stand up for democracy and human rights, even when faced with tough opposition. For me, one thing is clear: a values-driven foreign policy tries to do justice to these different goals as best as it can.

And in doing so, we must not omit another issue: Worldwide, most military equipment is exported to the Near and Middle East. If you need proof that more weapons do not lead to more peace and security, countries like Yemen, Syria or Afghanistan are the best examples. In this context, we must critically rethink our own export policy.

COP 28 is taking place in the United Arab Emirates this year. We need the Gulf states on the team “climate protection” and at the same time, we must clearly address human rights violations. More in my plenary speech.
As head of the delegation to the Arabian Peninsula, I travelled to Saudi Arabia. Topics included the regional security situation, the war in Ukraine, the fight against climate change in the run-up to COP 28 and Saudi Arabia's economic and social development, including human rights.
For the past 10 years, the al-Sisi regime has been brutally repressing Egypt’s citizens. Find out about the demands I made in my plenary speech.
Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, the focus of the media has shifted again. However, we need to take action to protect those resisting their oppression on the ground.
The Iraqi festival gathered traditional music groups from all over the region, as well as European musicians. A unique experience in the heart of Mosul, which is still being rebuilt after ISIS occupation
The Iranian regime fears freedom: Tens of thousands of political prisoners are in jail because they dared to speak up. Everyone who still talks to the Iranian regime must demand their release! My plenary speech:
The Taliban have steadily restricted women's and girls' rights, press freedom and civil liberties. Now they target education as a means to spread their radical ideology. It was in this context that I travelled to Afghanistan for the second time.
This year alone, more than 300 people have been executed in Iran. The international community must not remain silent in the face of such atrocities, otherwise there could soon be 3000.
In May, I went to Oman as head of the delegation to the Arabian Peninsula, together with other MEPs. Read my report here.
Without the support of our local partners, no EU action, no matter how rapidly deployed, will have a positive political impact on the ground. A Rapid Deployment Capacity cannot be our only answer – we need to better protect our partners and evacuate them when needed! My speech:
After taking power only one and a half years ago, the Taliban have banned women from public life. Now, the future of the country is under attack: the education of its youngest. The EU cannot look away. My plenary speech:
Iraq is a country that has gone through years of war, conflict and terror. Yet the spirit of the Youth protest movement lives on! As the EU, we should support this young courageous generation as much as we can. My plenary speech: