The 2001 Association Agreement , which entered into force in June 2004, forms the legal basis of EU-Egypt relations and heralded a closer and more intense phase of bilateral cooperation with a much wider spectrum of fields of cooperation than in the past. This was further strengthened through the jointly agreed EU-Egypt Action Plan , adopted in 2007, which provides the basis for cooperation in the political, social and economic fields. In the context of the revised European Neighbourhood Policy, partnership priorities are to be jointly agreed during 2016 that will guide future cooperation.
The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is the key EU financial instrument for EU cooperation with Egypt for the period 2014-2020. It replaces the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) of 2007-2013. Other funding sources are the thematic programmes, focussing for instance on human rights and civil society.
EU assistance to Egypt takes mainly the form of country Annual Action Programmes funded every year under the ENI. Also, under the ENI, a considerable amount of EU funding available to Egypt is channeled through the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF). In addition, Egypt also benefits from ENI regional and neighbourhood-wide cooperation programmes.
Egypt also benefits from funding under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. This Trust Fund support to the North of Africa area is managed by the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.
In 2014-2016 EU's assistance to Egypt under the ENI focuses on three priority sectors:
- Poverty Alleviation, Local Socio-Economic Development and Social Protection;
- Governance, Transparency and Business Environment;
- Quality of Life and Environment.
Complementary support for capacity development and civil society can also be provided also outside these priority sectors.
Key objectives, results and indicative financial allocations are outlined in the Single Support Framework 2014-2016. For 2014-2016, EU's bilateral assistance to Egypt may range between a minimum allocation of €311 million and a maximum allocation of €380 million. These figures are indicative: final allocations will depend on the country’s needs and commitment to reforms. The funding comes from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).
For 2014, EU bilateral funding through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) amounted to €115 million (Annual Action Programme 2014 and ENI-Wide 2nd complementarity financing decision for the NIF 2014), for the following three programmes: Egypt's Natural Gas Connection Programme (€68 million), Kafr El Sheikh Waste Water Management Programme (€17 million), and Expanding Access to Education and Protection for Children at Risk (€30 million). Additional €10 million were allocated for the Egyptian Pollution Abatement Programme III (complementarity financing decision for the NIF 2014).
For 2015, EU bilateral funding through the ENI amounted to €105 million, for the following programmes: Citizen Rights Project, Promoting Inclusive Economic Growth in Egypt, Upgrading Informal Areas Infrastructures, Fostering Reforms in the Egyptian Renewable Energy and Water Sectors through Developing Capacity Building (under Egypt's Annual Action Programme 2015) and 200 MW Wind Farm Project Gulf of Suez, and the Sustainable Energy Finance Facility (under ENI-Wide Annual Action Programme 2015).
From 2007 - 2013, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) was the main EU financial instrument to fund cooperation programmes with the Neighbourhood partner countries (including Egypt). EU’s bilateral assistance committed for Egypt under the ENPI totals €1 billion for 2007-2013. The main priorities for cooperation with Egypt during this period were political reform and good governance; competitiveness and productivity of the economy; and socio-economic sustainability of the development process.
After the 2011 uprisings, part of the foreseen EU cooperation has been redirected in order to respond to the pressing needs expressed by the country’s most vulnerable groups – going among others to income generating activities in rural areas, emergency employment schemes and community development programmes in informal areas, etc.
Following the events of July and August 2013 and subsequent Foreign Affairs Council Resolutions, EU assistance to Egypt has been reviewed and focus has been put on assistance in the socio-economic sector in order to benefit the most vulnerable groups of the population and on support to civil society.
Egypt also benefits from Twinning programmes, which promote institution and capacity building through support provided by experts from Member States' to partner country Ministries. Areas covered by Twinning programmes are very broad and include inter alia tourism, maritime safety or waste management.
Other budget lines
In addition to the ENI funding, Egypt is also eligible for additional funding under several EU thematic programmes and instruments such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR - €1.5 million in 2014), the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), thematic programmes under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) which cover among others Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities, Human Development and Migration & Asylum.
From 2007-2013, Egypt did also benefit from Erasmus Mundus and Tempus programmes in the field of Higher Education. Erasmus Mundus and Tempus programmes have been integrated in the Erasmus+ programme which has been launched beginning of 2014 and for which Egypt remains eligible.