HRVP Remarks on the Egypt Economic Development Conference Sharm-El-Sheikh 13-15 March 2015

HRVP Remarks on the Egypt Economic Development Conference, Sharm-El-Sheikh, 13-15 March 2015


Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission

HRVP Remarks on the Egypt Economic Development Conference, Sharm-El-Sheikh, 13-15 March 2015


Egypt today faces many challenges - political, economic and security related. We, Europe and Egypt, are neighbours, we share our Sea, the Mediterranean, and we share much history and hope for the future. A sustainable future, competition in the private sector and long term employment opportunities are essential. Recent signs on economic development are encouraging. The announced mega infrastructure projects, including in the Sinai Peninsula, should create jobs and attract investors. The new Suez Canal project is a centrepiece in this.


Egypt has taken bold steps that we welcome, and subsidy reduction and reform in the energy and food sectors are key. And further steps are planned in this direction. I’m convinced they will help broaden the tax basis, tackle the budget deficit and help create a better business climate for investors. For the sake of stability and sustainability, it will be important that the benefits of growth are this time shared by all.


We have longstanding close economic and trade links. We are Egypt's largest trading partner and first foreign investor. Trade is rebounding between Egypt and the EU, in both directions. Tourism and the manufacturing sector are beginning to recover. This is crucial, as we know that trade and economy often form the basis for political stability. 


The Egyptian people in the revolutions called for bread and dignity, social justice and their legitimate political and socio-economic rights. The EU will support Egypt in its social and economic reforms, building on the EU-Egypt Association Agreement. We will help improve living conditions, focusing on the most vulnerable. We will support civil society and investment in essential public infrastructure such as renewable energy. In Sharm we are signing important new programmes in some of these areas.

As concerns the political transition, the EU supports the roadmap. Hence, the importance of calling parliamentary elections, as soon as possible, after judicial challenges have been duly addressed.


The new parliament will play a significant role in deciding on the state budget and in ensuring that the new constitution is enacted and enabled. Among other things, it will be important to ensure that existing or future legislation on matters such as NGOs and protest comply with the provisions on fundamental freedoms in the Constitution.


Free media, the business community, dynamic young people, empowered women, nongovernmental organizations (not only those which engage in promoting political and human rights, but also those in social and economic development), all this plays a crucial role in the political and economic life of any country, in particular in times of transition.

The success of Egypt is important for everyone, at home and abroad.


We need a strong Egypt - politically stable and economically sound. Our economies and trade are intertwined and we face common challenges around our Sea and beyond: regional crises, starting from Libya, where we share a common interest and responsibility to make the dialogue work and to help the country unite against terrorism and violence; the need to restart the Middle East Peace Process; migration; the fight against terrorism and the rise of Daesh; economic development.


Egypt has a profound role to play in all these issues. It is an important country in the region and a key actor in the League of Arab States and the African Union. We need to further strengthen our cooperation, bilaterally and through regional and international organizations.


It is in our common interest, and it is the only way we can effectively face shared challenges and fully exploit the potential of our partnership. 


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