European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn (L) and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) during a press conference on October 30, 2017 in Cairo- press photo
CAIRO – 31 October 2017: Classifying the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group requires holding a vote among European Union (EU) state members, the European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn stated in a joint press conference with the Egyptian Foreign Minister on Monday.
The brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt and classified as a terrorist group for planning and executing several terror attacks against the military, the police, and civilians, incurring thousands of casualties and injuries. The attacks intensified following the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, on July 3, 2013 after mass protests started on June 30 of the same year, calling for his removal.
Hahn is on a visit to Cairo extending from Sunday through Tuesday, where he has been scheduled to meet with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, and businesspeople.
The EU commissioner added that Brexit would not affect European-Egyptian relations. “Foreign policy affairs are subject to coordination and mutual interest between Europe and the United Kingdom,” Hahn explained.
Sisi was received on Monday in the presence of Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. The president stressed that Egypt pays great attention to its ties with the EU in light of their bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Egyptian-European partnership agreement, affirming that the EU is Egypt’s premier trade partner.
Sisi further lauded the meetings of the EU-Egypt Association Council held in Brussels in July, noting that this contributes to promoting joint cooperation at various levels during the upcoming phase.
The president stressed the importance of enhancing coordination and consultations between both sides pertaining to regional issues to better enable them in facing joint challenges emerging from the existing regional crises, topped by terrorism and its repercussions on the security of the Middle East and Europe.
For his part, Hahn voiced the EU's keenness to bolster existing cooperation with Egypt, which is considered one of the most important neighboring countries. He also hailed Egypt's pivotal role in the region’s stability and security, lauding steps taken over the past years to achieve stability and the serious economic measures besides efforts exerted to fight terrorism and illegal migration.
The meeting deliberated means of promoting joint cooperation on various developmental issues as well as the latest regional developments, including Egypt's efforts to achieve the Palestinian reconciliation and settle the Libyan crisis.
Before his visit, Hahn told Italy’s AKI News Agency that the EU will continue supporting the economic reform program executed by the Egyptian government, highlighting that Egypt’s development plans seem quite ambitious. He will discuss with Egyptian officials the mechanisms needed to achieve the key goals of the EU-Egypt partnership.
Both parties will also sign agreements to fund a number of projects by the EU, given that it is “committed to the contribution to Egypt’s integrated and sustainable development program, and creating jobs for Egyptians,” Hahn explained.