EU pledges €7.4 billion aid and investment package for Egypt

Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Mar 2024

The European Union pledged a €7.4 billion ($8.1 billion) aid and investment package for Egypt, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Sunday during the signing ceremony in Cairo of the Joint Declaration on The Strategic Comprehensive Partnership between Egypt and EU.

Sisi
This handout picture provided by the Cypriot government s Press and Information Office (PIO) shows (L to R) Austria s Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Greece s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Egypt s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides, Belgium s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, and Italy s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni posing for a family photograph during their summit in Cairo. AFP

 

The mix of grants and loans will be disbursed over the next three years.

The package includes €600 million in grants, €5 billion in soft loans (total financial assistance), and €1.8 billion in additional investments within the framework of the economic and investment plan for the Southern Neighborhood.

The grants include €200 million for migration management.

The partnership between Egypt and the EU covers six common priorities: political relations, economic stability, trade and investment, migration management, security, and skills development.

The EU embassy in Cairo highlighted that the key projects within the economic and investment plan, including energy transformation and security, and supporting the Water-Food-Energy Nexus initiative as part of Egypt's climate strategy.

Through a grant of €35 million, the EU will support renewable energy and energy efficiency in Egypt.

The EU will also fund the development of the MEDUSA regional undersea fibre optic cable, a 7,100 km cable connecting North African and European countries, to manage increasing data volumes and improve communication.

The third project focuses on food security, under which the European Commission will provide “€100 million euros to Egypt to expand grain storage capacity, production, and to assist in mitigating the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on food security in the Southern Neighborhood."

The fourth project aims to support green transition, resource efficiency, infrastructure improvement, and sanitation services in Egypt to reduce pollution and enhance public health.

The embassy explained that there will be an expansion and modernization of the sewage treatment plant in Helwan in Greater Cairo and the improvement of the sewage treatment plant infrastructure and access to its services in Fayoum Governorate.

The mix of grants and loans will be disbursed over the next three years.

Describing the joint declaration between Egypt and the EU as a historic milestone, von der Leyen said that the declaration represents a partnership between Egypt and the EU in six main areas of mutual interest to both sides.

The first area, she said, concerns the political dialogue between Egypt and the EU to promote democracy and human rights, for which a leaders' summit will be held biennially.

The second area, von der Leyen went on to say, concerns economic stability. "We will support financially your (Egypt's) reform efforts together with international partners,” she stressed.

The third area is partnership in investment and trade. 

“We already have our Southern Neighbourhood Economic and Investment Plan in place, but we can do much more, be it renewable energy, be it digitalisation or connectivity, be it the agricultural sector or the water management, just to name a few topics,” von der Leyen noted.

Furthermore, she announced that the EU will support the EU-Egypt Investment Conference in Cairo later this year.

“In this context, let me say a few words on energy investments. We are developing the Gregy electric interconnector project together, which connects Egypt to Greece and increases energy security in Europe,” von der Leyen stated, adding that Egypt has all the resources to become a renewables hub, especially for renewable hydrogen.

In October 2021, Egypt signed an agreement with Greece to extend an undersea cable that would transmit power from North Africa to Europe. In the same month, it signed an agreement on linking the two countries’ electricity transmission networks.

Known as the GREGY interconnection, the cable between Egypt and Greece is a 3.5-billion-euro project that will carry 3,000 MW RES and connect northern Egypt directly with Attica in Greece. 

“You are keen to attract foreign investment, we have investors interested in Egypt, and we have a Memorandum of Understanding on this. So let us press ahead with the work in this area,” an ardent von der Leyen said.

On a different note, von der Leyen thanked Egypt for its extraordinary efforts to ensure that humanitarian supplies reach Gaza, stressing that the European Union will provide € 275 million in assistance to Palestinians.

“We have delivered over 1,800 tons of aid, including medical equipment, to Egypt and we are making sure this aid can reach Gaza through all possible routes. This includes also our newly opened maritime corridor in Cyprus,” she noted.

The EU Embassy's statement on the package 
 

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Delegation of the European Union to Egypt stated that the package includes €600 million in grants, €5 billion in soft loans (total financial assistance), and €1.8 billion in additional investments within the framework of the Southern Neighbourhood Economic and Investment Plan.

The grants include €200 million for migration management.

The partnership between Egypt and the EU covers six common priorities: political relations, economic stability, trade and investment, migration management, security, and skills development.

The EU embassy in Cairo highlighted the key projects within the economic and investment plan, including energy transformation and security, and supporting the Water-Food-Energy Nexus initiative as part of Egypt's climate strategy.

Through a grant of €35 million, the EU will support renewable energy and energy efficiency in Egypt.

The EU will also fund the development of the MEDUSA regional undersea fibre optic cable, a 7,100 km cable connecting North African and European countries, to manage increasing data volumes and improve communication.

The third project focuses on food security, under which the European Commission will provide €100 million to Egypt to expand grain storage capacity, and production, and to assist in mitigating the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on food security in the Southern Neighborhood."

The fourth project aims to support green transition, resource efficiency, infrastructure improvement, and sanitation services in Egypt to reduce pollution and enhance public health.

The embassy explained that there will be an expansion and modernization of the sewage treatment plant in Helwan in Greater Cairo and the improvement of the sewage treatment plant infrastructure and access to its services in Fayoum Governorate.

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