EU signs €7.4bn deal with Egypt to curb migration

European Union leaders have finalized a €7.4 billion (£6.3 billion) agreement with Egypt aimed at bolstering the country’s struggling economy, with the goal of bringing stability to the region and preventing another migration crisis in Europe. The three-year EU-Egypt strategic partnership involves €5 billion in soft loans to support economic reforms, €1.8 billion to facilitate private sector investments, and €600 million in grants, including funds for migration management.

This deal follows recent criticism from members of the European Parliament who accused Brussels of supporting authoritarian regimes, citing a similar agreement with Tunisia last year. The visit to Cairo by six EU leaders, including Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, was the result of extensive diplomatic efforts between the EU and Egypt.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, leading the delegation, emphasized Egypt’s strategic importance in a volatile neighborhood and its crucial role in regional stability. She also called for a ceasefire in Gaza and urgent aid for Palestinians.

The agreement reflects the EU’s broader efforts to address Mediterranean crossings and is more comprehensive than previous deals. Meloni commended Egypt’s efforts in Gaza and stressed the importance of addressing migration issues domestically.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo used the opportunity to pressure Israel over the situation in Gaza, citing concerns about humanitarian access. European governments, particularly Greece and Italy, fear another migrant crisis stemming from both Gaza and Egypt.

Human Rights Watch criticized the deal, arguing that it rewards Egypt’s autocratic leadership. Since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi came to power in 2014, his government has been accused of suppressing opposition and curtailing freedoms.

Despite criticisms, the EU stated its commitment to working with neighboring countries to improve democracy and human rights through partnerships. The joint declaration included commitments to promote democracy, fundamental freedoms, human rights, gender equality, and equal opportunities.

The four-page joint declaration also underscored commitments to uphold human rights, with both sides pledging to further advance democracy, fundamental freedoms, gender equality, and equal opportunities, as outlined in the partnership priorities.

The presence of six European leaders in Cairo signals the significance attached to the EU-Egypt relationship and the shared strategic interests in stability and prosperity. With Egypt’s substantial political and economic influence in a volatile region, the importance of strengthening ties is expected to grow over time.

This partnership aims not only to address immediate economic challenges but also to tackle underlying issues such as poverty and instability that contribute to migration flows. By investing in economic development and supporting reforms, the EU hopes to create conditions that discourage migration while promoting human rights and democratic values.

Despite concerns raised by human rights organizations, EU leaders emphasize the need for engagement and dialogue to influence positive change in Egypt. By leveraging diplomatic channels and financial support, the EU aims to encourage Egypt to respect human rights and uphold democratic principles, while also addressing pressing challenges such as the conflict in Gaza and the broader migration crisis.

Latest articles

US: 40% of people exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution

According to a recent report by the American Lung Association, nearly 40% of people in the US are exposed to unhealthy levels of air...

Profits dip, Tesla comes up with new models

Tesla's profits have significantly declined this year, prompting the company to accelerate the release of new models and cut thousands of jobs in an...

Greece: Athens covered with orange Sahara dust haze

An intense orange haze has enveloped Athens, creating a surreal landscape as vast clouds of Sahara Desert dust have drifted over the city. This...

Argentina: People protest against cuts to public universities

Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, on Tuesday, to protest and for voicing their opposition...

Related articles