On the 9th of May we mark Europe Day! This year we have dedicated the whole month of May to “The European Union in Egypt” with a series of activities organised by the EU Delegation and our Member States - in Cairo, Alexandria, and online like our video campaign “[email protected]”.
What does Europe Day tell us? It reminds us of the visionary ideas of European leaders like Robert Schuman to create an ever-deepening Union of sovereign European States to end a millennium of war and bloodshed among the European peoples. This plan, presented in a declaration on 9 May 1950, one day and five years after the end of a world war that had brought suffering and destruction on an unrivalled scale to Europe and far beyond, gave birth to an extraordinary peace project. For this achievement, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
To our shock and dismay, on 24 February this year all-out war returned to Europe. Our neighbour, Ukraine, a sovereign and independent State has found itself subjected to a brutal and unprovoked aggression. Millions of innocent civilians have been forced to flee their country, many killed, maimed, raped or orphaned. The Russian war is causing unspeakable pain and destruction. It is gravely impacting a global economy still reeling from the pandemic. The EU and its Member States stand with Ukraine.
And we stand with our partners that are affected by this war. The European Union is making available to countries in the region, particularly those hit by the disruption of grain deliveries, financial support under a dedicated Food and Resilience Facility. In the case of Egypt it is €100 million. This comes just after our support to confront Covid-19, with deliveries from the EU of millions of doses of vaccine to Egypt thus far. Our cooperation with a current active portfolio of well over €1 billion of grants, loans, and investments in Egypt covers every walk of life and hopes to benefit people all over the country in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030.
2022 is a special year. Five decades ago saw the beginning of a close cooperation between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, 45 years ago our partnership with Egypt. Together we have created profound ties in trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contacts. We are strategic partners and 2022 will see more high-level visits, and the new Partnership Priorities to guide us in our cooperation.
2022 is the Year of Youth in Europe and of Civil Society in Egypt; in 2022, Egypt will host COP27, a major international conference dealing with the climate crisis. Youth and Climate will thus be prominent during our EU month. The proud history of Egypt dates back thousands of years, but its population is young. The youth of our countries remind us each day that time is running out to save our planet. As Team Europe, EU Member States, EU Institutions and Banks, we are United for Climate. We are committed to work with the government and the people of Egypt for a safe and peaceful planet, on Europe Day, and every other day.
**The writer is the EU Ambassador to Egypt