Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received on Sunday Margaritis Schinas, the Vice President of the European Commission and the European Commissioner for the promotion and propagation of the European way of life, to discuss strengthening bilateral relations between the two sides.
Ahmed Abu Zeid, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the meeting witnessed an exchange of views on a number of priority issues for both sides within the framework of the historical and multifaceted relations binding Egypt and the EU, foremost among them efforts to address the phenomenon of illegal migration.
Minister Shoukry stressed the importance of moving the file of cooperation in this field from a technical level to a high political level that meets the common interest of both sides in accordance with the principle of partnership in shouldering the burdens.
In this context, Shoukry presented the Egyptian vision to deal with this phenomenon, which is based on a comprehensive approach that extends to its developmental and social aspects and does not reduce its security response. The Foreign Minister also noted that Egypt is hosting nearly 9 million refugees and migrants, which Egypt looks forward to strengthening European support for the Egyptian state’s efforts to prevent illegal migration flows across its borders.
For his part, Schinas expressed the EU’s appreciation for the efforts made by the Egyptian State in this regard, stressing the Union’s readiness to provide further support to Egypt in light of the priority that Egypt represents for the Union.
He also referred to the importance he attaches to regulating the movement of trained workers from Egypt to the EU, and to provide education and training for those workers to prepare them to work in the European market, thereby contributing to the reduction of illegal migration flows.
The talks also dealt with ways to strengthen economic cooperation between Egypt and the EU.
Minister Shoukry stressed the importance of the investment component in relations between the two sides in light of the investment opportunities that Egypt has.
The Minister pointed to a number of promising projects between Egypt and EU countries, foremost among them the electricity linkage projects between Egypt and the Northern Mediterranean countries, and the importance of the EU providing political support for these projects in a way that serves the interests of both parties and enhances European energy security.
The EU supports various activities that promote investment in Egypt and encourages European companies and banks such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to enhance their investments in Egypt in the best interest of both parties, Schinas said.
The two sides discussed a number of international challenges of common interest, foremost among them strengthening food security and combating terrorism, where the Foreign Minister stressed the importance of the European Commission’s strengthening of funding for partners from developing countries most affected by the current international crises. Shoukry also praised the cooperation between Egypt and the EU in the field of combating terrorism at the bilateral and multilateral levels, where the two sides stressed their aspiration for continued cooperation and close coordination during their joint chairmanship of the International Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF), which starts next May.