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The 2001 Association Agreement which entered into force in June 2004 forms the legal basis of EU-Egypt relations and heralds a closer and more intense phase of bilateral co-operation which covers a much wider spectrum of fields of co-operation. The relationship has been further strengthened with the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy from 2007 and the jointly agreed EU-Egypt Action Plan , adopted in March 2007, which provides an ambitious agenda in the political, social and economic fields, designed to move Egypt closer to a set of shared values with the EU.

Co-operation Programmes 2007-2013

European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument

Since 2007, the Commission's priorities in terms of financial cooperation with Egypt have fallen under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The strategic framework for EU co-operation with Egypt is established in the Country Strategy Paper , which currently covers the period 2007-2013.

In this context, two National Indicative Programmes (NIPs) define the priorities for financial co-operation for the periods 2007-2010 and 2011-2013 respectively. The priorities under the NIPs are threefold:

  • Priority area 1 - Support to political reform, human rights and the judiciary
  • Priority area 2 - Support to economic reform
  • Priority area 3 - Support to sustainable development

The bilateral ENPI budget allocation for Egypt for the three-year period 2011-2013 is €449 million, an average of broadly €150 million per annum, which represents an increase of over 5% compared to the previous programming period 2007-2010 which totaled €558 million over four years.

Priority areas and financing in the NIPs:

€ millions2007-20102011-2013
Reforms in the areas of democracy, human rights and justice
Competitiveness and productivity of the economy
Sustainability of development and better management of human and natural resources

For information on the programmes for the period 2007-2011 please click on the links on the right under 'Work with us / Annual Programmes'.

Areas foreseen for 2012 and 2013 include further support to Political development, Governance, modernisation of Justice, improving the institutional and legislative framework as well as continuing support to reforms in the Education, Vocational Training and Transport Sectors.

Egypt is also eligible for co-operation activities financed under the ENPI multi-country and regional programmes and the ENPI Cross Border co-operation component. Egypt will also benefit from the new Erasmus Mundus programme, enhancing mobility and co-operation with EU in the field of higher education.


A budget of €62 million is available for Egypt under the Twinning instrument which promotes institution and capacity building through support provided by experts from Member States' to partner country Ministries.

Areas covered by the Twinning Instrument include Tourism, Maritime Safety, Postal Services, Investments and Free zones and Railways safety. Future projects will cover other areas of the Association Agreement and the EU-Egypt Action Plan such as: Statistics, Occupational Health, Water Quality, Waste Management, Telecommunications, Animal Disease, Norms and Standards and Road Safety.

Thematic Programmes

Beyond the bilateral geographic instrument (ENPI), Egypt is also eligible for additional funds under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and thematic programmes established under the Development Co-operation Instrument (DCI) which covers among others the Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development (NSA & LA), Investing in People and Migration.

In 2010, a budget of €1.9 million was made available to civil society organisations (€0.9 million under EIDHR; €1 million under NSA & LA). In 2011 Egypt benefitted from EIDHR (€2.0 million), NSA & LA (€1.0 million) and from global calls under the DCI thematic programmes.

Co-operation up to 2006

Under the MEDA I programme (1996-1999), a total of €686 million was made available to support Egypt’s transition towards a market economy and its integration into the Euro-Mediterranean economic area. Financial Support was also provided to tackle socio-economic issues and developing the country’s private sector.

Between 2000 and 2006, Egypt received about €600 million in funding from the MEDA II programme. The EU’s main objectives and priorities for co-operation can be found in the Country Strategy Paper for Egypt (2002-2006) .

During this period, the Commission's assistance portfolio allowed it to engage in a dialogue with the Egyptian authorities that centred on making key reforms in several sectors, such as finance, customs, trade enhancement, social development, health, education and training.
In 2006, priority was given to improving the Egyptian health sector, especially the on-going reform of the national health system. To this end, €88 million was committed during 2006. In addition, €20 million was committed in support of social development, €11 million in support of research, development and innovation, and €10 million for an interest-rate subsidy relating to a project on environmental pollution abatement.

More information

For European Neighbourhood Policy and EU policy towards Egypt see the European External Action Service website.

More information on EU relations with Egypt is available on the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Egypt. For trade relations see the Trade Directorate-General website.

Last update: 08/05/2012 | Top