CAIRO: A senior member of the European Parliament said on Wednesday Egyptian authorities had barred him from visiting imprisoned opposition leader Ayman Nour and he urged the European Union to take a muscular stand in the case. Britain s Edward McMillan-Scott, a vice president of the parliament and its rapporteur on democracy and human rights, said he tried to pay Nour a personal visit on Tuesday but was turned away after waiting for an hour and half. Nour, who is serving a five-year jail term on fraud charges which he says were fabricated, is seriously diabetic and has undergone heart tests under tight security. I feel the European Union should now take a much more muscular approach to the (President Hosni) Mubarak regime, McMillan-Scott told Reuters in a telephone interview. We have seen Dr. Nour s family life disrupted by the regime. We have seen his liberty deprived by the regime and now we re witnessing his health suffering as a result of the regime, McMillan-Scott said. Prison authorities gave no reason for the decision to bar McMillan-Scott and the Interior Ministry had no comment. McMillan-Scott said the European Union and the United States should make common cause on behalf of Nour, who came a distant second to Mubarak in the country s first multi-candidates presidential elections in 2005. Washington last week renewed its calls for Egypt to release Nour because of his deteriorating health and urged the government to ensure he gets adequate medical treatment. McMillan-Scott said Europe and the United States should work together with Egypt to promote social and political reforms in the most populous Arab country, which has been ruled by Mubarak since 1981. But it must be on the basis of political prisoners, the Muslim Brotherhood in particular as well as parliamentarians like Dr. Ayman Nour, having their freedom restored, he said. Egyptian analysts say that while Europe lacks the diplomatic clout to pressure the Egyptian government on the issue of reforms, the United States has given up on promoting democracy in the Middle East, realizing it needs its friends to support its plans in Iraq and stand up to Islamist groups.