Implementation of the EU-Egypt Action Plan

On August 28th, the Official Journal of the European Union published the Recommendation nº1/2007 of the EU-Egypt Association Council of March 6th 2007 on the implementation of the EU-Egypt Action Plan. With this Action Plan, the European Communities and their Member States, and the Arab Republic of Egypt, intend to strengthen the objectives set out within the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement scope.

The Action Plan serves the dual purpose of setting out concrete steps in bringing about the fulfilment of the Parties’ obligations set out in the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement, and of providing a broader framework for further strengthening EU-Egypt relations to involve a significant measure of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation, in accordance with the overall objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement.

In this regard, the Action Plan between Egypt and the EU within the European Neighbourhood Policy sets ambitious objectives based on joint ownership, common interests, reciprocal commitments, differentiation, shared values and implementation of national plans and reform programmes, politically, economically, socially and institutionally.

Egypt and the EU agree, in this Action Plan, to enter into intensified political, security, economic, trade, investment, scientific, technological and cultural relations, and shared responsibility in establishing an area of peace and stability including the prevention and settlement of conflicts in the region and to reinvigorate regional and subregional cooperation.

This Action Plan is a first step in a process covering a timeframe of three to five years. Its implementation will help to fulfil the provisions and aims of the Association Agreement (AA) and will encourage and support Egypt’s national development, modernisation and reform objectives.

The main areas of the actions to be put forward within the Action Plan are:

  • The enhancement of political dialogue, economic and social development and reform: strengthening the implementation of the Democracy and the Rule of Law, promoting the creation of effective institutions, independent administration and justice, as well as the reinforcement of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, specially related to the protection of rights of women and children, and the fight against discrimination, intolerance and racism, also aiming to assure freedom of association and expression. Cooperation on foreign and security policy, and fight against terrorism are also key issues. In the field of Economic development and reform, the Action Plan aims to consolidate progress made with a view to improving macroeconomic stability and to promoting growth and employment. Facilitating the access to export markets, inter alia, by approximation of technical legislation, is also an objective set by the Action Plan, specially for agriculture and fisheries.
  • Trade related issues, market and regulatory reform: There are important actions to be taken in relation to trade relations, customs and the identification of areas with export potential to the EU and further enhancement of Egypt’s export capability. The Action Plan aims to the continuation of work on the implementation, within the EU harmonised areas,  of the Palermo Action Plan for the Free Movement of Industrial Products approved by the July 2003 Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Trade Ministers. Cooperate to facilitate the establishment of companies and foreign investment and progressively remove obstacles to establishment, are also important issues to the Plan.
  • Transport, energy and environment: The general objective to implement a national transport strategy, including transport infrastructure development and transport sector reforming. The Action Plan aims to cooperate in the development of an overall long term energy strategy converging towards EU energy policy objectives, improving  environmental performance and enhancing good environmental governance.
  • Migration, social integration, justice and security: Develop a comprehensive and balanced dialogue with Egypt on various migration-related issues, including legal migration, seasonal migration, status of Egyptian migrants and workers residing legally in Europe, brain drain, asylum, movement of people, control of illegal migration and return, visa; and monitoring and the analysis of the migration phenomenon as a synergy with the Euro-Med initiatives on research on migration and the Consortium on Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM) in particular. This cooperation chapter also includes measures related to the fight against terrorism and organized crime.
  • Science and technology, research and development, information society and audiovisual cooperation: Accelerate the integration of Egypt into the European Research Area and the Community Framework Programme.
  • People-to-people contacts: the establishment of cultural cooperation between Egypt and EU and its Member States, as well as address youth and sport issues and civil society cooperation.