Wednesday,18 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1254, (9 - 22 July 2015)
Wednesday,18 July, 2018
Issue 1254, (9 - 22 July 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Food for thought

The EU is to produce a regional counter-terrorism plan of action that will enhance the efforts already being made by some member states, reports Nesmahar Sayed

Al-Ahram Weekly

James Moran, head of EU Delegation to Egypt, started the panel discussion following the annual press iftar by expressing sympathy and condolences to all the families bereaved by the terrorist attacks in Cairo and Northern Sinai, and asked those in attendance to join him in a minute of silence “in memory of all the victims of these reprehensible attacks”. “They have suffered terrible losses and while words are never enough, I want them to know that all of us in Europe, governments and people, feel with them. Many of our own citizens have also been victims of terror this week on the beaches of Tunisia, and if ever we had to face up to a common challenge in our region, then this is it,” Moran said.

And so, according to Moran, “working with the authorities here, the EU will during the second half of this year produce a counter-terrorism plan of action that will enhance the efforts already being made by some of our member states. We all know this will not be easy: not least in the interests of truly durable security and stability. We must take great care to avoid violating fundamental freedoms, but do it we must.”  

Moran added that “the whole question of our common security is a major focus for the current review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, and judging by the consultations on the ENP we have had here in Egypt, whether with government, business or civil society, it is clear that we must do more, much more, to protect our people and deal with the threats we face. The new policy should be announced in the autumn”.  

He stressed the need to work much more closely on regional threats, saying “Egypt is an indispensable partner in moving forward on the panoply of challenges we both face, whether in Libya, Syria, Yemen and of course in the Middle East, where there is an urgent need to revitalise the peace process based on the two-state solution”.
“These conflicts are also part of the reason why we have witnessed such a crisis in migration across our common sea, the Mediterranean,” Moran said. “It is not just about military action to disrupt the heinous people traffickers but above all about saving lives, whether action at sea or through attacking the root causes in the countries of origin, whether political or economic.

“Here in Egypt, we have continued to work assiduously for stability and development. A key part of that is the completion of the roadmap, which we fully support, and we very much hope that parliamentary elections will be held soon. The signs are that they will take place this year, and the sooner the parliament is in session, the better. But whoever is in power, economic recovery is a sine que non for stability and prosperity. Part of the ground has been laid with the government’s courageous economic reforms of the past year and it is good to see growth prospects looking up.”

Moran hoped the reform programme will continue. Recovery has also been helped by the successful economic conference in Sharm, where the EU, through its assistance programmes, development banks and companies, played a key part, with some 35 billion euros in new financing and investments pledged from these sources.  

According to Moran, the EU remains Egypt’s number one trading partner and investor bilateral trade last year increased by 11 per cent.

More generally, the EU assistance programmes are now focussed on the poor and vulnerable. “Let me pay tribute to civil society here, who are often at the sharp end of these development efforts, delivering date bars in schools, implementing small agricultural schemes or building feeder roads.”  

He also said Egypt had over the last year become the EU’s prime partner in the region in the massive new Horizon 2020 programme, with hundreds of participants and nine major new projects in industrial technology, mobility of researchers and science diplomacy.

“Egypt is an indispensable partner for us. I believe Egypt feels the same way about the EU.”  

Moran also noted the recent change of the internal EU presidency from Latvia to Luxemburg.

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