Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy is expected to discuss bilateral relations and economic support during a tour of three European countries. The minister’s visit comes ahead of a European Union Foreign Affairs Council (EUFAC) meeting scheduled for Monday 10 February where the situation in Egypt is expected to be on the agenda.
Fahmy departed from Cairo on Sunday morning to begin his five day tour which will take him to Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. In each country the minister is expected to hold “political consultations” with his counterparts as well as meeting with the respective parliamentary foreign relations committees, said ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty in a Saturday statement.
In recent statements Germany and Italy have expressed concern regarding ongoing violence in Egypt. In response to a series of bombings in the Greater Cairo area on 24 January, both countries condemned the bombings and called for inclusivity in the political process and urged dialogue.
The EUFAC will convene in Brussels next week and is set to “assess the outcome of the constitutional referendum held on 14-15 January”. The EU has followed events in Egypt closely, both before and after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July last year. The EUFAC decided in August 2013 to revoke export licenses for equipment that could be “used for internal repression”. The decision came a week after the dispersal of two large pro-Morsi sit-ins by security forces that saw hundreds killed.
The United Kingdom has since resumed the issuance of export licenses to Egypt. Each EU member state can act on its own interpretation of the guidelines set out by the EUFAC.
The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), an independent pan-European think tank, graded European foreign policy performance in regards to Egypt with a C+. The grade is calculated by assessing how unified the European countries were in policy decisions, the allocation of resources and the extent to which their objectives had been achieved. ECFR gave European nations a total score of 8/20, which their methodology describes as “insufficient”.
ECFR said in its Report Card 2014 that following Morsi’s ouster “Europeans were united around a weak position and had little influence on developments in Egypt.”