EU envoy hails partnership with Egypt, its important regional role



Wed, 22 May 2019 - 10:14 GMT


Wed, 22 May 2019 - 10:14 GMT

Ivan Surkos - Photo courtesy of European Union Delegation to Egypt Facebook page

Ivan Surkos - Photo courtesy of European Union Delegation to Egypt Facebook page

CAIRO, May 21 (MENA) - Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt Ivan Surkos on Tuesday described Egypt as an important partner of the European Union that plays an important role in the region.

Addressing the EU delegation's traditional press Iftar in Cairo, Surkos said stability and sustainable security of Egypt is of paramount importance not only to all Egyptians, but to the entire region and to the European Union.

He added that the European Union is firmly convinced that democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms are very important to achieve this goal.

The EU ambassador said the European Union believes that the power of the neighboring countries boost its own power, pointing to the first summit held at the level of Heads of State and Government between the EU and the Arab League, hosted by Sharm El Sheikh in February.

He added that the summit witnessed deep discussions on various topics aimed at enhancing cooperation between Europe and the Arab world.

Surkos expressed his confidence the summit was a first step on the right track to enhance cooperation between the two sides.

He added that the EU is working to strengthen its partnership not only with the Arab world but also with Africa, describing Egypt 2019 AU chairmanship as a good opportunity for promoting tripartite cooperation between the EU, Egypt and the African Union.

The EU ambassador affirmed that Egypt is the most important neighbor of the pan-Europe bloc in the Southern Mediterranean region.

He added that strategic relations between the two sides have developed significantly over the past years.

Our total commitments represented in the EU aid to Egypt, which amounts to more than 1.4 billion euros in grants, clearly reflect the richness of our cooperation, Surkos said.

We are a key supporter of Egypt's education sector. We focus on increasing access to education for the most needy children, as well as improving the quality of education, he added.

It was agreed that support for government reform in the education sector would be a priority for the EU's 2019 annual work plan for Egypt in the amount of €25 million, he stressed.

The EU is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Egypt as FDI inflows from EU countries in 2017-2018 fiscal year amounted to about $8 billion, representing more than 60% of total FDI inflows, Surkos said.

EU-Egypt partnership agreement, which entered into force in 2004, doubled bilateral trade from about 12 billion euros in 2004 to about 28 billion in 2018, he added.



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