FILE - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry FILE - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry

Foreign Min. denies signing an agreement with EU to exchange personal citizen data

Tue, Feb. 26, 2019
CAIRO – 26 February 2019: The Cabinet Media Center denied on Tuesday the rumour circulating regarding an agreement between the Foreign Ministery and the European Union.

Rumours had spread after the closing ceremony of the League of Arab States – European Union (LAS-EU) Summit concerning a deal that was made between the ministry and the EU to exchange the personal information of citizens. The rumours had indicated that information will include name, race, political ideology, religious views, syndicate membership, health status and much more.

The Media Center had contacted the minister to confirm that this agreement had in fact been signed, but the ministry denied signing such agreement, pointing out that it respects the privacy of Egyptian citizens and that the country respects its people and their privacy, meaning that they would not hand over such information. To the ministry, the ministry explained, it is a human rights issue. It is the right of every citizen not to have their information handed over to any agency or entity.

The ministry also pointed out that in 2018, the EU took steps towards protecting the personal information of individuals via the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Law. Companies working with the EU also have to abide with this law.

The ministry further pointed out that these types of rumours aim to bring down the success of the summit. The ministry went on to explain that the summit, which was held in Sharm el-Shiekh and hosted representatives from more than 50 countries, has been a success on every level.

During the LAS-EU Summit closing speech on Monday, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi explained that the LAS-EU Summit has exceeded expectations by far.

“I am confident that these discussions have clarified the strategies and the direction of mutual points of interest between the countries here today,” said Sisi, explaining that it was important for countries to sit down and talk together about these issues.

Having these discussions on such a level allows us to move forward together and build a strong strategy together. “This is a high priority for our country and other countries,” Sisi said.

Sisi went on to point out that the different points of views that were present during the summit allowed discussions to be of higher values and to go further, it also allowed us to discuss more and search more into different ways and strategies.

“What connects the Arab and European region are more than those that separate them,” stated Sisi, elaborating that this is something that has become evident over the past few days.

“I am sure that you will agree with me that the success of this summit is not just in the discussions that we have had, but also in the long and strong relations between the countries,” Sisi explains.

“Allow me once more to talk to our nations. Dear nations that love piece, we have finished today the summit […] you are the beneficiaries of our talks and you are the ones who will reap the fruits of these talks. I, therefore, invite you to bypass all the issues that separate you and embrace those things that bring you closer and bring you together.”

Sisi ended his speech saying, “I do not say good bye, but rather farewell until the next Arab-European Summit.”

Sisi also thanked all the world leaders that aided in the successful discussions that took place over the past few days.
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