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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Egypt, EU agree on new partnership priorities

Egypt and the EU agreed on a new cooperation framework that outlines the two sides’ priorities for 2017-2020 on Tuesday, according to the EU’s External Action Service. The framework states that the EU and Egypt will cooperate “in all fields including Egypt’s sustainable economic and social development, good governance, the rule of law, human rights, migration, security and counterterrorism.” The pact was signed during a meeting in Brussels after a meeting between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, where discussions centered on strategic issues, including the economy, migration, and security.

Migration paid lip-service? The EU downplayed talk on migration, with Mogherini simply stating, “We talked and we will talk about migration.” There had been some hope that previous talks between Egypt and EU members Germany and Austria could have seen Cairo sign a Turkey-style agreement under which Egypt would receive development aid for ensuring the safe residency of third-country migrants that had been bound for Europe. This comes as the EU’s top official for relations with neighboring states said the Turkey agreement appears to be working well.

NGOs, human rights, terrorism remain a sticking point: Shoukry called on the EU to “seriously reconsider its passive approach” to terrorism and countries that support it, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. Meanwhile, Mogherini voiced “the EU’s concerns about the consequences of the new NGO law” on civil society, stressing that “sustainable security and stability can only be achieved when human rights are fully available, implemented and upheld.” Amnesty International had called on the EU to consider Egypt’s human rights record as it looks at the state of relations between the two sides, and Mogherini had met earlier on Tuesday with Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty.

The Qatari smackdown was also on the agenda, with Shoukry stating that there will be no compromise — Doha must accept demands issued by Egypt, Saudi Arabia the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to end the dispute. .

On a related note, the government will be signing an MoU with the EU on energy cooperation this fall, EU sources tell Al Mal. The MoU does not cover direct funding for energy projects or extend to the private sector, the sources add.

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