Relations with the EU
The European Union and Egypt
Europe and Egypt are bound by history and geography. The EU and Egypt both have a long-lasting relationship, and we will continue to expand our cooperation on the basis of partnership and joint commitment.
The EU is firmly committed to cooperate with Egypt on shared challenges.
On the 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration, and to relaunch and strengthen the strategic partnership between the EU and its Southern Neighbourhood partners, including Egypt, the EU proposed an ambitious and innovative new Agenda for the Mediterranean. The new Agenda is based on the conviction that by working together and in a spirit of partnership, common challenges can be turned into opportunities, in the mutual interest of the EU and its Southern neighbours.
On a bilateral level, the jointly agreed Partnership Priorities (2017-2020) aim to address common challenges facing the EU and Egypt, to promote joint interests and to guarantee long-term stability on both sides of the Mediterranean.
The Partnership Priorities are guided by a shared commitment to the universal values of democracy, the rule of law and the respect of human rights. They also aim to reinforce cooperation in support of Egypt's "Sustainable Development Strategy – Vision-2030". This partnership includes support to Egypt's sustainable economic and social development, good governance, the rule of law, human rights, migration, security, counterterrorism, and cooperation in foreign policy through intensified consultations on regional and international issues.
The EU and Egypt have been moving forward engaging on shared priorities under their Association Agreement, which was signed in 2001 and entered into force in 2004.
Economic Relations, Trade and Investments
The Association Agreement established a free-trade area (FTA) between the EU and Egypt by removing tariffs on industrial products and making agricultural products easier to trade. In 2010, the FTA was complemented by an agreement on the liberalization of trade in agricultural and fisheries goods.
The EU is Egypt’s most important trade partner accounting for ca. 25% of the country’s total trade. Bilateral trade in goods has almost tripled since the FTA entered into force, growing from €8.6 billion in 2003 (the year preceding the entry into force of the Association Agreement) to €24.5 billion in 2020. Egypt mostly exports to the EU fuels and mining products, chemicals, and agricultural products.
The EU is also the leading investor in Egypt, with accumulated investment stock of ca. €38.8 billion representing around 39% of the country’s total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Egypt remains the second biggest recipient of EU FDI in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The EU and Egypt are continuously working on improving trade and investment relations, in order to foster mutually beneficial development and growth.
Science and Technology
The cooperation between the European Union and Egypt in Science and Technology (S&T) is guided by the EU-Egypt STI agreement signed in 2005. Under the previous EU R&I funding programme, Horizon 2020, Egypt partnered with the EU in 51 projects covering various sectors including water, energy, food, agriculture, health, migration, and cultural heritage. For further information, please click here.
Cooperation will now continue under Horizon Europe.
More information on mobility of researchers can be found on Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions website.
In October 2017, EU and Egypt signed an agreement for Egypt's participation in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA). The partnership, financed through a combination of funding from participating countries (currently €274 million) and a €220 million contribution from the EU, is the largest R&I programme in the history of the Mediterranean region.
EU Joint Programming
Joint Programming is the joint planning of development cooperation by EU development partners working in a partner country. It is a policy tool contributing to a stronger Europe and bringing together resources and capacities to support our partners in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
Joint EU aid programming in Egypt was launched in 2015, based on an indicative roadmap, and has been closely aligned to the country's national development strategy, the “Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030”.
The Joint EU Analysis of Egypt's Political, Social, Economic and Planning was concluded in September 2016. A Joint EU Response was approved in December 2017. Together, the Joint Analysis and the Joint Response constitute a new Joint EU Programming Strategy for Development Cooperation in Egypt launched in 2018.
Joint EU Programming reflects the importance of Egypt as a key partner of the EU and its Member States to promote stability and sustainable development in the Southern Neighbourhood region.
Team Europe Coordinated Covid-19 Response in Egypt
Since March 2020, the ‘Team Europe’ approach provided the framework for a coordinated COVID-19 response in Egypt.
The EU ongoing programmes were adjusted and new actions were identified to ensure support to Egypt in the best possible way in these difficult times to help mitigate the impact of the outbreak in response to the immediate health crisis and the resulting humanitarian, socio-economic and sanitary needs.
To support Egypt's public health system to get prepared and to respond efficiently to Covid19 in particular, the EU offered in December 2020 €89 million in budget support to the Ministry of Health. The EU contracted a specific programme for immediate socio-economic response targeting the most vulnerable and women. EU-funded projects implemented by local civil society organisations were also adapted swiftly, to ensure adequate access to health services for the most vulnerable.
Together with the European Financial Institutions, ongoing projects were redirected where possible to support the Egyptian COVID-19 response. This included short-term support to the health sector but also long-term support to SMEs, youth and women. Community resilience was enhanced through the adjustment or adoption of programmes implemented in partnership with AFD, KfW and EIB, with an emphasis on access to clean water and sanitation.
Increased access to finance has been one of the cornerstone of Team Europe response in Egypt, in particular through the mobilization of EUR 1.65 bn between April 2020 and March 2021 by EIB to support SMEs through several financial intermediaries and the EBRD’s commitment to make repayment of loans easier for MSMEs. As part of its COVID Solidarity Package, from April 2020 to February 2021, the EBRD opened credit lines worth €784 million for commercial banks to provide support to local SMEs and corporate liquidity needs.