How Egyptian-German relations recovered during Sisi's rule



Sun, 28 Oct 2018 - 02:29 GMT


Sun, 28 Oct 2018 - 02:29 GMT

Joint press conference for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 3, 2015. Reuters photo

Joint press conference for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 3, 2015. Reuters photo

CAIRO – 28 August 2018: Following June 30 revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated former President Mohamed Morsi, Egyptian relations with Germany, along with many other countries, were strained. However, diplomatic, and subsequently economic relations with Germany have been restored in a short time.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi arrived in Berlin on Sunday, Oct. 28 on a four-day visit to participate in the G20 Compact with Africa summit upon an invitation from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel, Sisi exchange visits

During the first term of elected President, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Merkel received Sisi in Berlin in June, 2015, marking the end of strained relations, while a number of protests have been launched in support of Sisi in Berlin, according to Berlin police.

During Sisi's historical visit, an €8 billion ($9.1 billion) deal was signed with German Siemens AG to build gas and wind power plants in Egypt. According to media reports, it is the largest single order in Siemen's history.

Although Merkel opposed the death punishment ruled against former President Morsi at the time, she praised Egypt's peace efforts in the Middle East, saying in a news conference that there were many good reasons for the strong ties between the two countries, including common interest in achieving peace and security.

In January 2017, Sisi spoke with Merkel, where they discussed cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts. The two officials also discussed a future visit by Merkel to Cairo, said a statement by the Egyptian Presidency Office.

In March of the same year, Merkel visited the Egyptian capital, where she discussed with President Sisi issues including illegal migration, terrorism and the latest developments in the region.

Following the meeting, Sisi praised, in a press conference, the development of the relations between the two states in various fields.

Merkel expressed appreciation for the long term bilateral relations, which have lasted for about 61 years, affirming that Germany is one of Egypt's major trade and investment partners.

FILE - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi shake hands following a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany June 3, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Sisi and Merkel also watched a video conference of the opening ceremony of the German Siemens's three power plants established in Egypt.

During his speech in the inauguration of the megaprojects in July, CEO of Siemens Joe Kaiser said that the three giant electricity plants, provided by Siemens, produce electric power for 40 million citizens, in addition to the provision of power to companies and factories for many years to come.

“The plants will also provide Egypt with prosperity, flexibility and diversification, enabling the country to export energy to Europe and establish cooperative relations with Saudi Arabia,” Kaiser added.

FMs meeting in 2015, 2016

Received by President Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who served as the minister of foreign affairs at the time, said that Egypt played an important role to achieve security and stability in the region.

In his first visit to Egypt since President Sisi was elected, Steinmeier, who assumed post in 2013, described Egypt as one of Germany's "most important partners" in the Arab world.

During the German official's visit, he addressed issues of mutual concern including countering terrorism, and preventing illegal migration and human trafficking from further spread.

FILE – Sameh Shoukry (L) meets with former German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) - AFP

In January 2016, Steinmeier received his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, in Berlin, where they discussed the situation in the region and the German-Egyptian cooperation.

During the meeting, Steinmeier and Shoukry discussed the expansion of economic relations between the two countries, and ways of cooperation to enhance tourism.
In November 2016, the German passenger flights resumed to Sharm El-Sheikh, following a one-year ban on flights to the city, which was imposed after a Russian plane crashed in Sinai in 2015, with the cause of the accident remaining unofficially announced until now.

“We know that the Egyptians have huge expectations as regards jobs, growth and opportunity, but German businesses also have a great interest in Egypt," said Steinmeier, according to the Federal Foreign Office.

The two officials also discussed cooperation to work on securing holidaymakers, as tourism represents a crucial part of the Egyptian economy.
In January 2017, Shoukry visited Berlin, and met again with Steinmeier and members of parliament. He also held meetings with the Federal Minister of Interior Thomas De Maizière, and National Security Adviser Christophe Heusgen.

The talks addressed the negative impact of illegal immigration on security and stability in Germany and Europe.

Important numbers in economic relations

There have been a number of 1,048 German companies operating in the Egyptian market until July 31, 2017. The volume of trade in 2017 recorded € 5.8 billion ($6.6 billion) compared to € 5.3 billion in 2016.

The trade exchange between Egypt and Germany during the first seven months of 2018 recorded about $2.78 billion.

The value of Egyptian imports from Germany during this period decreased by 17.8 percent compared to the previous year, to reach about $2.361 billion.

While Egypt's imports of cars, tractors, bicycles and parts increased to $414.337 million during the same period.

Concerning investments, Egyptian investments in Germany reached $46.1 million. The most important sectors in which Egypt invests in Germany are financing, pharmaceuticals, furniture, medical equipment, tourism and trade.

Also, Germany's investments in the agricultural sector in Egypt amounted to $34.5 million with 33 companies operating in the field.



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