Commission: ‘Silent fish’ for possible agreement with Egypt on immigration

‘Silent fish’ is observed by the regarding a possible conclusion of an agreement with immigration. The Commission says Ursula von der Leien’s forthcoming visit along with Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Prime Ministers of Italy and Belgium, to Egypt on 17 March, is about strengthening the overall Egypt-EU partnership, not only in immigration, but also in energy. “We do not comment on reports”, was the response of Commission representative Eric Mamer, during today’s briefing to the press, when he was invited to comment on the Financial Times report, which states that the forthcoming visit to Cairo of the President of the Commission, along with the Prime Ministers of Greece, Italy and Belgium, is to finalise an agreement on immigration, accompanied by a 7.4 billion-euro aid package. “Egypt is an important partner” “Egypt is an important EU partner in many areas,” Eric Mamer stressed. “One of them is immigration, but also energy, green agenda and investments in renewable energy,” he said. Asked whether the purpose of the visit is, apart from immigration, an EU-Egypt agreement on energy, Eric Mamer replied: “The aim is to strengthen the overall partnership with Egypt and it is clear that energy is an important dimension. The President of the Commission has previously visited Egypt, particularly to discuss how to develop energy relations between Europe and Egypt, for example in the field of clean hydrogen and electricity from renewable sources in general. Yes, energy is on the menu of discussions with Egypt, during our visit there this weekend.” In response to the critical remarks made by MEPs that the Commission is preparing to conclude an agreement on immigration with Egypt, in the standards of the agreement with Tunisia, Eric Mamer replied: “We are convinced of the need for cooperation with neighbouring countries. We know the criticism of human rights in these countries and that is one of the issues we are discussing with these countries. But does that mean we have to break our ties? Or should we try to find a way to cooperate with these countries in order to improve the situation on the ground?”. He also stressed that an agreement on the gradual improvement of the situation, as was the case in Tunisia and Mauritania, should be found in the Commission. He noted that the European Council, in its conclusions, welcomed the agreement with Tunisia and called for the signing of other such partnerships with other countries. “The European Commission is in constant contact with other institutions, especially the Member States in the Council on the discussions that are taking place,” he said. Visiting Cairo Last week the Commission announced Ursula von der Leien’s visit to Cairo, along with the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Italian Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni and Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander de Cro. As announced, they will meet with Egypt’s president Fatah Al Sisi, while the mission takes place in the context of the discussions on strengthening the partnership between the EU and Egypt.