The head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Egypt, Ivan Surkoš, told Daily News Egypt that the delegation is preparing a visit by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan to Egypt next September.
“The aim of the visit is to bring businessmen to find out possibilities of cooperation in agriculture, importing and exporting food, and other products,” said Surkoš, adding that he will share his knowledge of modern technology for agriculture and food processing with the Egyptian side.
The ambassador noted that he commissioner’s planned visit will witness high-level discussions in agriculture, trade, and health issues. Moreover, a business forum will be held, Surkoš said, adding, “the visit is another step showing that we are not only talking about politics, migration, and democracy, but also we pay practical attention to economic aspects like agriculture and health and trade.”
Meanwhile, the ambassador said that the Frontex executive director will come to Egypt in the second half of June to discuss how Europe can be helpful to different Egyptian institutions. Frontex is officially the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, headquartered in Warsaw, Poland.
According to Frontex’s website, the agency helps the EU countries and Schengen-associated countries manage their external borders. It also helps to harmonise border controls across the EU. The agency facilitates cooperation between border authorities in each EU country, providing technical support and expertise.
The ambassador reaffirmed the EU’s support for the Egyptian reform programme, noting, “in fact we are supporting what the Egyptian government plans through funds and offering expertise.”
Surkoš noted that the EU is implementing a demining project in Alamein, supporting a governmental programme for cleaning a land area, in collaboration with the Egyptian army and the UN Development Programme to make it suitable for cultivation.
“The EU supports elaboration of the Egyptian Energy Strategy for 2035 to give Egyptian authorities a clear view of their decisions’ impacts on the social economic side, fuel subsidies, and the necessity of modernising the electricity grid. This is how we support the reform and the energy sector for example,” said the ambassador.
Meanwhile, the ambassador added that the EU delegation supports the Ministry of Environment’s celebration of World Environment Day on 5 June, noting, “we support the Egyptian Ministry of Environment’s initiative, which was launched one year ago to reduce the usage of plastic bags. We offer financing and expertise.”
The ambassador added that the reform measures are difficult for Egyptian people to afford, but there is no other way to boost the economy and modernise society, which was clarified by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the Egyptian authorities.
“We deeply believe that society modernisation is not only an economic matter, but also is a matter of activating human rights, civil society, fighting corruption,” said the ambassador.
The total EU aid commitments to Egypt are over €1.3bn in grants, while the total of combined ongoing aid commitments, including grants, loans, and other funds from EU member states, EU institutions, and European financing institutions (EFI), is €11bn, Surkoš said at Wednesday’s annual EU iftar event.