Overview of the EU's relations with Egypt
Reflecting their close and long relationship, the EU regards Egypt as an important neighbour and partner.
The EU stands by the Egyptian people in their ongoing search for democracy, respect for human rights, dignity, social justice, and security. The EU has supported the country's roadmap to democracy. After the endorsement of a new Constitution in January 2014, presidential elections in May 2014 and parliamentary elections concluded in December 2015, the convening of the Egyptian Parliament in January 2016 was an important step in the country's political transition. Temporarily on hold in the wake of the January 2011 revolution, the institutional dialogue meetings foreseen by the Association Agreement have resumed.
Already in 2001 and in order to put their relationship on a firm legal footing, the EU and Egypt concluded negotiations on an Association Agreement. Since its entry into force in 2004, it has provided the framework for regular political dialogue between the two partners and enhanced cooperation in a number of key sectors, ranging from trade and investment to energy and education, and also for sustained and substantial EU assistance to Egypt's reform efforts.
Trade and investment relations have developed particularly well. The Association Agreement establishes a free-trade area with the elimination of tariffs on industrial products and significant concessions on agricultural products. In addition, an ambitious agreement on agriculture, processed agricultural and fisheries products entered into force on 1 June 2010. Since 2004, EU-Egypt bilateral trade has more than doubled and reached its highest level ever in 2012 (from €11.8 billion in 2004 to €23.9 billion in 2012). The EU is traditionally Egypt's main trading partner, covering 22.9% of Egypt's trade volume in 2013 and ranking first both as Egypt's import and export partner. Moreover, the EU is the number one investor in Egypt. In recent years, roughly three quarters of FDI inflows originated in the EU. A very significant part of all FDI pledged at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in March 2015 came from the EU.
The total amount of ongoing EU assistance to Egypt channelled through the bilateral envelope amounts to nearly €1.1 billion. All EU assistance to Egypt is provided in the form of grants. For the period 2014-2020, the new European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is the main financial instrument for EU cooperation with Egypt.
Regarding the EU's "Single Support Framework 2014-2016" for Egypt, the following three priority sectors have been mutually agreed with an indicative allocation of EUR 311 – 380 million:
-Governance, transparency and business environment (including complementary support in favour of civil society and of EU agreements)
-Poverty alleviation, local socio-economic development and social protection
-Quality of life and environment
In addition to bilateral EU funding, Egypt also benefits from EU multi-country co-operation instruments and programmes and a wide range of regional programmes.
With the view to further strengthening its relations with its partner countries in the neighbourhood, the EU in close consultation with Egypt and other countries concerned in 2015 agreed to find new ways to implement joint commitments. The new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), as endorsed by the Council of the European Union in December 2015 and while acknowledging the importance of sustained efforts in support of democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and rule of law, focuses on the stabilisation of the partner countries as its main political priority. Further key elements are differentiation and mutual ownership, recognising that not all partners aspire to comply with EU rules, and reflecting the wishes of each country regarding the nature and scope of its partnership with the EU.
To put the revised ENP into practice, the EU and Egypt have engaged in a joint definition of the priorities for their partnership in the years ahead. These priorities will reflect shared interests.
Further information on:
EU-Egypt trade relations:
EU assistance to Egypt: