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Europe questions Egyptian democratic reforms

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Egyptian protesters gather in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, in Egypt, on February 1, 2013 as people took to the streets across the country in a show of opposition to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian security used water cannon and fired shots into the air as protesters threw petrol bombs and stones into the grounds of the presidential palace, a presidential spokesman said. UPI/Ahmed Jomaa | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/056acd7c77519ee37e59ce01585cebd4/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Egyptian protesters gather in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, in Egypt, on February 1, 2013 as people took to the streets across the country in a show of opposition to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian security used water cannon and fired shots into the air as protesters threw petrol bombs and stones into the grounds of the presidential palace, a presidential spokesman said. UPI/Ahmed Jomaa | License Photo

BRUSSELS, June 18 (UPI) -- European taxpayers need a better return on their investments in Egyptian democratic transformations, the European Court of Auditors said Tuesday.

The ECA said more than $1 billion in assistance was allocated by the European Union for Egyptian development since 2007. The ECA said it found corruption to be "endemic," adding the financial assistance was largely unsuccessful.

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"Following the uprising [in 2011] no new major initiatives were taken to tackle key human rights issues and the measures taken have had little impact to date," an ECA statement said.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has faced mounting criticism since he was elected in the first democratic contest in Egyptian history in 2012. His administration's human rights record was the subject of U.S. congressional debate after a criminal court in Cairo found guilty 43 members from non-governmental organizations of accepting foreign funds and operating in the country illegally.

The ECA report said European aid initiatives were "hindered by the negative attitude of the Egyptian authorities."

NGOs investigated by Egyptian authorities said they believed the charges were politically motivated.

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