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Beyond migration, what does EU's $8bn package mean for Egypt?

The 27-member bloc's 7.4 billion euros in funding in the North African country will be disbursed over the next three years and cover economic and trade relations, energy and immigration.
European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen and Egypt president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pictured during a diplomatic meeting on Sunday 17 March 2024 in Cairo, Egypt. The Belgian Prime Minister is on a 3-day visit to Jordan, Qatar and Egypt. BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM (Photo by DIRK WAEM / BELGA MAG / Belga via AFP) (Photo by DIRK WAEM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Cairo with a star-studded lineup on Sunday, including the leaders of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and Italy. At a signing ceremony with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the European Union pledged a package of 7.4 billion euros ($8 billion) for cash-strapped Egypt.

The funding will be disbursed over the next three years and covers economic and trade relations, energy and immigration. The proposed funding includes 5 billion euros ($5.45 billion) in concessional loans and 1.8 billion euros ($1.96 billion) of investments, according to a summary of the plan published by the EU. An additional 600 million euros ($654 million) will be provided in grants, including 200 million euros ($218 million) for managing migration.

The Egyptian economy has already been hit hard by the war in Gaza, with tourism numbers initially plummeting and Suez Canal revenues reporting as much as a 50% drop in revenues after ships diverted from the vital trade point this year due to attacks in the Red Sea on commercial vessels by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The conflict and subsequent Red Sea attacks have also hampered Egypt’s energy market. Egypt’s re-exports of gas fell by more than 50% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared with the same period in 2022.

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