EU-Egypt: European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan adopted

European Commission

IP/07/284

Brussels, 6 March 2007

EU-Egypt: European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan adopted

At its meeting today in Brussels, the 3rd EU-Egypt Association Council has adopted the EU-Egypt Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which will set the agenda for the EU-Egypt cooperation for the next 3-5 years. In a separate decision, the Association Council has established eight sub-committees and one working group, under the EU-Egypt Association Agreement, to follow up the implementation of the Action Plan and to take stock of the progress made. The Action Plan sets out the priorities for co-operation in a wide range of sectors jointly agreed between the EU and Egypt. These are based on Egypt’s own reform agenda in the economic, social and political areas. The EU will support implementation of the Action Plan with a substantial €558 million assistance package, announced last week by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner during her visit to Egypt [1]. It is expected that this package will also help attract lending for investment of an estimated €250 to 300 million, bringing the total value of the Commission support to around €800 million for the period 2007-2010. This demonstrates the EU’s commitment to support Egypt in its national priorities and reforms.

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner emphasised: “I am delighted that we have today adopted the EU-Egypt ENP Action Plan, which places Egypt among the closest partners of the European Union. The Action Plan opens a new chapter in our relationship, deepening our partnership in a number of key fields of interest to us both, such as the judicial and political areas, economic and social programmes, as well as cultural and people-to-people dialogue.”

She added: “It is important now that the Action Plan achieves concrete, measurable results, and is seen as relevant to all elements of Egyptian society. Implementation is therefore a key priority on which we will be working together in the years ahead. “

The EU-Egypt ENP Action Plan will be a key element in reinforcing EU-Egypt relations, underpinning political, economic and social reform in Egypt. With the adoption of this Action Plan, Egypt and the EU agree to enter into intensified political, security, economic, trade, investment, scientific, technological and cultural relations, with shared responsibility for establishing an area of peace and stability, including the prevention and settlement of conflicts in the region and reinvigorating regional and sub-regional cooperation.

Implementation of the priorities will be jointly monitored through eight new expert-level sub-committees, under the Association Agreement: internal market; industry, trade, services and investment; transport; environment and energy: information society and audiovisual, research and innovation, education and culture; agriculture and fisheries; justice and security, customs co-operation; political matters: human rights and democracy; international and regional issues. In addition, the Association Council has also established a working group on migration, social and consular affairs.

The Commission will provide financial and technical backing for the implementation of the Action Plan priorities, in particular through the EU twinning instrument.

Background

The European Neighbourhood Policy aims to intensify relations and promote progressive integration between the European Union and its neighbours. The ENP offers economic and social benefits for the countries that border the EU, through co-operation in a range of areas from strengthening democracy, promoting rule of law, and upholding human rights, to trade liberalisation, energy, and transport development. The EU and its neighbours mutually agree on Action Plans which set ambitious objectives based on joint ownership, common interests and shared values, reciprocal commitments and differentiation. The Action Plans support the implementation of partners’ own national plans and reform programmes, politically, economically, socially and institutionally.

The funding instrument to support these reforms is the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Egypt will benefit from a €558 million financial assistance package for the period 2007-2010.

For more information on the EU’s relations with Egypt and on the ENP at

http://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/egypt/intro/index.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/index_en.htm

[1]

Footnotes:

[1IP/07/241: EU-Egypt: Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner presents €558 million assistance package during her visit.

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