President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi congratulated his new French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, asserting “the depth and strength of Egyptian-French relations,” the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.
Al-Sisi expressed his keenness on working with Macron to boost and develop cooperation between the two countries in various fields with common interest.
Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, 39 years old, has become France’s youngest-ever president after an estimated 65% victory in the second round runoff against Front National’s right-wing leader Marine Le Pen, who received 35% of the vote, in the French general election.
The newly elected French president faces several challenges related to immigrants, terrorism, refugees, and relations with the European Union.
Meanwhile, Egyptian experts expect no big change in the Egyptian-French relations.
Professor of political science at Cairo University Hassan Nafaa told Daily News Egypt that “we shouldn’t link Egypt with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, because the Egyptian presidential elections will be held after a year, which may change the president, but even if the president is changed, the relations between Egypt and France will continue to be strong.”
According to Nafaa, the success of Macron is very important for Europe and traditional allies of France, including Egypt. “Egypt didn’t bet on National Front leader Marine Le Pen,” Nafaa explains.
When asked about Macron’s position regarding the refugee issue, Nafaa said that the newly elected French president will lead France to modest reforms, but he explained that it depends on the results of the parliamentary elections in France, which are set to be held in nearly a month.
Nafaa expected that if the National Front wins more than the quarter of seats of the French parliament [national assembly] it will obstruct Macron’s maneuvers.
According to his programme, Macron says France needs to “take its responsibility” towards the refugees. He places the issue at the heart of a collaborative European effort and calls for “tighter and more efficient border controls”, as well as “the combating of organisations and criminal networks, [with a] balanced allocation of refugees among EU countries.”
Professor of political science at Suez Canal University Gamal Zahran asserted that the Egyptian-French relations has its specialty, and he does not expect any changes in it, as he says that France is keen on the bilateral relations with Egypt due to the French presence in the Libyan issue.
From his point of view, Zahran predicts that what he called the “security-affiliated institutions” will control the country due to Macron’s youth and because he has no supporters in the political parties.
“No new policies regarding Muslims will be taken,” Zahran added.
Macron has previously claimed that the secular traditions of France should not be used against Muslims, and he considered that France and its Muslim minority are fighting on a common front against extremism.
However, professor of political science at Cairo University Mohammed Hussein argued that there will be a different view between Egypt and the newly elected French president regarding the Syrian issue and the position of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad.