Ambassador Surkoš on Europe Day Through EU-Egypt strategic partnership, we will be able to stand up for the aspirations of our people

ENGLISH / Ambassador Surkoš on Europe Day Through EU-Egypt strategic partnership, we will be able to stand up for the aspirations of our people

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Ambassador Surkoš on Europe Day Through EU-Egypt strategic partnership, we will be able to stand up for the aspirations of our people

Europe Day was celebrated today in Cairo; marking the Schuman Declaration which paved the way to European integration. Senior Egyptian officials and influential figures from various spectrums of the society, and the diplomatic community participated in the event, organised by the European Union (EU) Delegation to Egypt.

Sixty-eight years ago today, French foreign minister Robert Schuman proposed a joint authority to oversee French and German production of coal and steel, launching an ambitious project which has shaped the course of European history and redefined Europe’s place in the world.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt Ambassador Ivan Surkoš said that 9 May is an occasion to highlight peace, unity, and prosperity in Europe. “In today’s world, the European Union is more indispensable than ever, not just for European citizens, but for our partners as well who want to work in a cooperative way to strengthen multilateralism, peace, sustainable development, a free and fair trade, human rights and democracy.”

Stressing on the strategic relations between the EU and Egypt, Ambassador Surkoš expressed his gratitude over the extensive and very productive bilateral work between both sides. “The Association Council between the EU and Egypt was held in July last year, in which we adopted our partnership priorities for the years 2017-2020 with the aim of addressing common challenges, promoting joint interests and guaranteeing long-term stability.”

The EU-Egypt partnership priorities are guided by a shared commitment to the universal values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The priorities cover three main areas: Egypt’s sustainable modern economy and social development, foreign policy, and enhancing stability.

Ambassador Surkoš highlighted the benefits of cooperation between the EU and Egypt, stating that the first has maintained its position as the leading foreign investor and trade partner of Egypt. “Since I assumed my position as the representative of the EU to Egypt, I visited many of the projects we fund around the country. I can proudly say that I witnessed first-hand the positive impact of our cooperation; from local farmers benefiting from an EU-funded project to enhance the packaging and storing of their products for exporting, to families who are supported so that they send their sons and daughters to schools, to entrepreneurs who find the tools and space to flourish.”

Currently, total EU aid commitments to Egypt amount to over EUR 1.3 billion in grants. Around 40% of the EU’s current aid portfolio targets the field of economic and social development including employment creation, 54% infrastructure (mainly related to renewable energy, water and sanitation/waste management) and environment, and 6% dedicated to support improving governance, human rights, justice and public administration.

“Europeans and Egyptians are expecting a lot from their leaders and from us. I am confident that through our strategic partnership and open discussions on various issues, including human rights, we will be able to stand up for the aspirations of our people,” Ambassador Surkoš concluded.

During Europe Day event, the choir of Lycée International Français Concordia and Soprano Jehan Fayed performed the anthems of the EU and Egypt. Participants were also entertained with a great performance from the Egyptian jazz band Amro & The Big Bang Boogie.

The event showcased as well handicraft products of NGOs from Qena, Sohag, New Valley, Cairo and North Sinai which benefit from “Emergency Employment Investment Project” funded by the EU

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