Published: 10:05, March 18, 2024 | Updated: 11:43, March 18, 2024
Egypt says EU okayed 7.4b-euro financial package
By Xinhua

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (ight) and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi pose for the media prior to a meeting on the sidelines of an EU Africa summit in Brussels, Feb 17, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)

CAIRO - The European Union agreed on Sunday to provide a financial package of approximately 7.4 billion euros ($8.06 billion) to bolster the Egyptian economy, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said.

Sisi made the remarks during a press conference jointly held with visiting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other senior officials from the bloc, during which he announced that Egypt and the EU signed a joint political declaration to "embark on a collaborative path" toward upgrading their bilateral relations to the "strategic and comprehensive partnership level."

The financial package will mainly focus on three aspects of the Egyptian economy, "namely concessional financing, investment guarantees, and technical support for the implementation of bilateral cooperation projects," he was quoted as saying in a Presidency statement.

Egypt and the EU also prepared to convene a joint investment conference in the second half of 2024 to welcome more European companies to engage in the Egyptian market, according to the statement.

"Our discussions placed special emphasis on energy as a key area for cooperation, with a particular focus on natural gas and electricity interconnection," Sisi noted, adding that it has been agreed upon to collaborate on green hydrogen production as a clean energy source.

Earlier in the day, Sisi and von der Leyen held a meeting on boosting Egyptian-European ties, on the sidelines of the Egyptian-European Summit that included leaders of Cyprus, Italy, Greece and Austria.

He also met with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, whose country holds the current EU rotating presidency. 

Such deals were "the best way to address migratory flows", said Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who travelled to Cairo alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Greek, Austrian and Belgian prime ministers, and the Cypriot president. 

Egypt largely shut off irregular migration from its north coast in 2016, but more recently there has been a surge in Egyptians trying to cross to Europe via Libya, and the EU is already providing support aimed at reducing those flows.

In recent months, the Greek islands of Crete and Gavdos have seen a steep rise in migrant arrivals, mostly from Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

"We must prevent the opening of new migration routes and we will work very closely with Egypt to ensure that this will be achieved," said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, adding that both countries would try to open up legal pathways on migration.
With Reuters inputs