The Outer

What are the most prominent provisions of the strategic partnership between Egypt and the European Union?

By Manal Abdel Fattah

Today, Egypt and the European Union agreed to raise their bilateral relations to the level of a strategic and comprehensive partnership, based on the values of justice, respect and mutual trust.

According to a statement distributed by the European Union Embassy in Cairo, the two parties, aware of the historical relationship that has bound them for thousands of years, affirmed their commitment to build on their extended relationship, which was formed by close geographical, cultural, political, economic and popular ties, with the aim of deepening stability, peace and common prosperity between them.

The European Union recognized Egypt’s position as a reliable partner, as well as the unique and vital geographical and strategic role that Egypt plays as a fundamental pillar of security, moderation and peace in the Mediterranean region, the Near East and Africa.

The two parties remind of their commitment to the principles stipulated in the United Nations Charter and other relevant multilateral agreements, in addition to the partnership agreement between Egypt and the European Union and the partnership priorities approved for the period from 2021 to 2027 that link them.

Egypt and the European Union decided to draft a comprehensive document on the comprehensive and strategic partnership and sign it during the first quarter of 2024. The strategic partnership document will clearly define specific areas of cooperation, namely: political relations, macroeconomic stability, sustainable investment and trade, including energy, water, food security and climate change, Thus, putting these areas into effect should unleash the relationship between Egypt and the European Union to work to its full potential.

And the areas of cooperation in detail, as reported by the European Union delegation to Egypt:

Egypt and the European Union will continue to work on formulating and implementing a positive action program to achieve common prosperity and stability. Egypt and the European Union will continue to work on their commitments to further strengthen democracy, fundamental freedoms, human rights, gender equality and equal opportunities, as agreed in the partnership priorities.

The European Union expressed its readiness to assist Egypt in implementing its national human rights strategy, in accordance with the provisions of the Association Agreement between Egypt and the European Union and the partnership priorities during the period extending from 2021 to 2027.

Regional and international challenges highlight the importance of enhancing political dialogue between the two sides by holding a summit every two years that brings together the presidents of Egypt, the European Commission, and the European Council, with the summit being held alternately between Cairo and Brussels, in addition to the annual participation council meeting between Egypt and the European Union, which constitutes The cornerstone of bilateral engagement between the two sides, within the framework of the partnership agreement between Egypt and the European Union, as well as existing cooperation activities that include Egypt and the member states of the European Union.

The European Union expressed its readiness to support the Egyptian Development Agenda for 2030 to ensure long-term macroeconomic stability and sustainable economic growth, in accordance with the priorities identified by the two sides and the reform goals contained in the Egyptian Development Agenda.

Financing will support and keep pace with the progress made with regard to those jointly defined priorities and goals, which will unleash private sector investments with all its potential and this, in turn, will help mitigate the impact resulting from the current international and regional crises, in the interest of stability and common security for both sides. .

The European Union is ready to support the Egyptian economy in light of the increasing pressures Egypt faces on the balance of payments stemming from the global economic environment, including the sharp increase in borrowing costs. This support will benefit Egypt, as it will complement the financing of the International Monetary Fund and will support Egypt in implementing economic policies aimed at confirming credibility, enhancing confidence, and opening the door to private capital flows, according to a statement by the European Union mission in Egypt.

To this end, the European Union supports the high-level bilateral dialogue between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund to enable the continued implementation of comprehensive and structural reforms in Egypt.

In addition, the European Union expressed its readiness to provide support to Egypt to meet the needs of economic stability in the short term and the needs of economic development in the medium term. In the short term, the European Union is ready to provide this support in the form of budget support, concessional financing and grants, in a way that supports facilitating access to the necessary financing for development. Some other mechanisms, such as debt swaps, which can be decided by European Union member states, could be Ways to enhance the financial space necessary for investment.

The European Union affirmed its strong commitment to enhancing areas of cooperation with Egypt in multiple sectors of the modern economy, including renewable energy, renewable hydrogen, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, food security, connectivity and digital transformation, water security, and water management, as these sectors will attract up to €5 billion of European investments supported by guarantees from the European Fund for Sustainable Development and the Economic Investment Plan. The European Union will also support Egypt’s continued efforts to enhance its business and investment environment to facilitate trade and investment flows in line with its international obligations, especially its obligations towards the European Union.

The European Union is also ready to support the international investment conference scheduled to be held this year, as enhancing trade exchange between Egypt and the European Union will enhance the business environment in a comprehensive manner and support public and private investments. European support will also empower the European business community To benefit from the investment potential available in Egypt, including the privileges provided by the Suez Canal as it is the most important commercial and maritime corridor linking the East and the West, in addition to the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which will enhance Egypt’s role in the European Union’s supply chains, and has the potential to attract industries. For the European Union to Egypt.

Egypt and the European Union realize that the new geographical and political reality and the energy market require deepening their existing partnership to support energy security for both sides. For this purpose, Egypt and the European Union have agreed to intensify cooperation with a special focus on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency activities, as well as cooperation in the areas of other safe, sustainable, low-carbon technologies, and to benefit from the great Egyptian potential for cost-effective expansion in power generation. Renewable energy, through projects such as the electricity interconnection project between Egypt and Greece (Grigi). The European Union is also committed to supporting the work of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum with the aim of enhancing cooperation in the field of energy, security of gas supplies in the region and gas trade with the European Union.

Within the framework of this partnership, the two sides will explore various ways to update and review the partnership agreement with regard to the issue of trade and investment relations, making it compatible with contemporary challenges.

Based on the shared vision for more sustainable management of water resources and addressing the challenges posed by water management in the context of a growing population, competitive demand for water, and climate change, Egypt and the European Union have agreed on areas of cooperation in the field of water at the bilateral, regional and international levels, and in line with the joint declaration between Egypt. and the European Union to enhance cooperation in sustainable water management, which was signed on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai.

Recognizing Egypt’s heavy dependence on the waters of the Nile River in the context of its water scarcity, the European Union renewed its support for water security in Egypt and compliance with international law, recalling that the “do no harm” principle is a guiding principle in the European Green Deal.

Based on the principles of partnership, shared responsibility and burden-sharing, Egypt and the European Union are adopting a comprehensive approach to migration governance. In this context, the European Union will provide the necessary financial support to assist Egypt in migration-related programs that require developing a comprehensive approach to dealing with migration, including legal migration pathways, in line with national competencies and mobility programs such as the Skills Partnership Initiative, and addressing the root causes of illegal migration. Combating migrant smuggling and human trafficking, strengthening border management, and ensuring dignified and sustainable return and reintegration.

The European Union and Egypt will continue to cooperate to support Egypt’s efforts to host refugees, and both sides are committed to protecting the rights of migrants and refugees.

The two parties reaffirmed their efforts to combat all security challenges, specifically, within the framework of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, where Egypt and the European Union have co-chaired the forum since May 2023.

The European Union and Egypt agreed on the need to deepen cooperation through dialogue on combating terrorism, and to strengthen this dialogue in the field of preventing and combating security threats and challenges, including cybersecurity threats.

Egypt and the European Union will continue to explore cooperation in the field of law enforcement, combating serious and organized crime, training and capacity building. The two parties will work to explore operational cooperation in areas related to preventing the smuggling of cultural goods and recovering illegally trafficked cultural property in line with international law.

In light of Egypt’s awareness of the importance of the human element in achieving development, the European Union reaffirmed its support for Egypt in the fields of technical and vocational education and training. Working through the priorities and goals identified by both sides, this support will help match skills and labor market needs, including through labor mobility and seasonal employment programs, and continued support for the social and economic reintegration of Egyptians returning to Egypt.

In addition, the European Union will enhance cooperation with Egypt in the field of research and innovation and will work to enhance participation in its relevant programs such as the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean (PRIMA) and the Student Exchange Program (Erasmus). This cooperation will also allow Egypt to negotiate… Joining European Union programs such as the (Creative Europe) programme, the (European Horizons) programme, and the (Digital Europe) programme.

The European Union said that it is fully prepared to consider the initiative to launch a European-Egyptian university to encourage European universities to enter into greater participation with Egypt.

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