The European Union’s (EU) pledged grants and loans to Egypt worth €5bn have been prolonged as a result of the Egyptian government’s lack of a clear economic vision, James Moran, EU ambassador to Egypt said.
The aid package, which is to be given to Egypt by the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, “remains available but we have not been able to move as fast as we would like because of the lack of a framework for economic reform,” Moran said in a recent presser.
On 20 June, the Daily News Egypt had translated a news story from AlBorsa Daily which incorrectly quoted Moran as saying that the EU withdrew the €5bn in grants and loans.
Moran said the EU decided to make its aid to Egypt contingent upon the latter’s obtainment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, saying that if it were able to obtain the loan that this would help increase the confidence of foreign investors, regardless of the conditions placed on Egypt by the IMF. He added that investors from the EU own roughly a third of all foreign investment within Egypt.
Moran said he considers slow economic growth and Egypt’s inability to attract new investment among one of the largest challenges facing the country’s new government. He stated that Egypt’s new government should work to develop new free trade agreements with neighbouring nations, saying that it would be difficult to predict the country’s future growth rates before the end of the current fiscal year.
Moran remained optimistic, however, regarding the potential for Egypt’s economy to recover over the coming months, saying that the EU at the moment had no choice but to wait and see how the future would play out within the country.
He further emphasised the need for Egypt’s security situation to stabilise before the country would be able to attract new foreign investment, saying that he had received reassurances from officials representing Defence Minister Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, stating that Al-Sisi had learned from Egypt’s past experiences, and sought to move the country back to democracy as fast as possible.He stated it would be impossible for the EU to intervene to promote reconciliation between Egypt’s various political factions if those within the country themselves were not ready to do so.
He added that the EU was further concerned with events in Sinai and the increasing lack of security within the peninsula.Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the EU, attributed the lack of security within Egypt to demands that former president Mohamed Morsi be released, adding that the EU rejected the arrest of any additional individuals who are held without concrete evidence.She further spoke with representatives from Egypt’s government regarding sexual harassment taking place against women during protests and demonstrations, in addition to the government shutting down of a number of independent television networks, along with claims being made that several journalists were subject to imprisonment. She emphasised the EU’s opposition to attempts that may be made to change Egypt’s civil societies’ law.