“We stand beside Egypt in this crisis,” von der Leyen said in a press conference with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi following their talks in Cairo.
She also announced that the EU has allocated three billion euros to help the region confront the repercussions of the global grain crisis.
President El-Sisi said that talks with the EU top official focused on ways to boost cooperation between Egypt and the EU in the energy field in both natural gas and electrical linkage.
El-Sisi added that Egypt and the EU agreed on the importance of establishing a strategic partnership in the energy sector for future development. He also affirmed the need of infrastructure development through cooperating in technical and financial support as well as investments to produce green hydrogen as a source of clean energy.
Earlier on Wednesday, von der Leyen witnessed signing a framework agreement between the EU, Egypt, and Israel to export natural gas from Israel via Egypt to Europe.
President El-Sisi added “our meeting today also discussed our joint coordination with regard to the international efforts in addressing the challenge of climate change.”
“I appraise the president of the European Commission of the recent organisational and thematic preparations ahead of Egypt’s hosting of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh in November,” he said.
El-Sisi stated that both sides agreed during the discussions on the need to coordinate international efforts with all partners to reduce the impact of the global food crisis, especially on countries affected most by the repercussions.
They also agreed on the importance of providing support to these countries in dealing with rising prices of grain, food, and agricultural commodities. Furthermore, both sides agreed on the importance of financing agricultural technology that could contribute to increasing productivity and self-sufficiency.
“I was keen during the talks to share with the president of the commission the Egyptian views about the most important regional issues and common interests as well as the Egyptian efforts to restore stability and solve the crisis in the region,” the Egyptian President said.
He added that both sides also reviewed the Egyptian success in counterterrorism efforts and combating irregular migration.
“I have also presented the achievements in combating terrorism and illegal immigration as well as our current position with regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue,” El-Sisi said, reiterating Egypt’s demand to reach a legally binding agreement that secures all parties’ interests.
El-Sisi added that the talks included the latest steps the Egyptian state took to provide decent living conditions for citizens, including economic development projects and social initiatives, and above all, the first National Strategy for Human Rights.
The president said he discussed with von der Leyen the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian crisis.
“I clarified the aspects of our vision toward the crisis as well as its roots and repercussions, emphasising Egypt's principled positions, which necessitate prioritising the language of dialogue and peaceful solutions and making sincere efforts to achieve this.”
von der Leyen stated that she discussed with El-Sisi methods of broadening and intensifying the very good cooperation that “we do have already."
There are strong foundations in different issues on which we are working together, she said,
There is strong commitment, trust, and reliability between both sides, which are very good and substantial foundations to increase cooperation and strengthen the bonds between us, von der leyen added.
"At the moment, 20 million tonnes of grain are trapped in Ukraine," according to von der Leyen.
“80 percent of your [Egypt’s] wheat imports are coming from Russia and Ukraine,” von der Leyen said, adding that there are concerns regarding food security and food prices.
“Therefore, let me reassure you again that we stand by your side also concerning this topic. We will provide an immediate relief of EUR 100 million to Egypt for the immediate food security situation. This will hopefully help to increase the grain storage capacity and provide finance for rural businesses and farmers,” the EU official said.
Moreover, she said that the EU “will devote EUR 3 billion to agriculture and nutrition, water and sanitation programmes over the next years, here in the region”.
“These investments will support food systems in your region and elsewhere, so that we can together discuss how to develop solutions and technologies that are fit for purpose here in Egypt,” she said.
Earlier on Wednesday, von der Leyen witnessed signing a framework agreement among the EU, Egypt, and Israel to export natural gas from Israel via Egypt to Europe.