Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

EU Accelerates Financial Support Package for Egypt Bypassing Parliamentary Oversight

Fri 29 Mar 2024 | 09:30 PM
Taarek Refaat

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Friday that the EU intends to accelerate some of its financial aid allocated to Egypt, using an urgent financing procedure that bypasses parliamentary oversight and other guarantees.

The Associated Press reported that the amount of €1 billion (equivalent to $1.1 billion) allocated for this purpose is part of a larger aid package amounting to €7.4 billion euros of financial aid directed to Egypt that was announced by the European Union on March 17.

She added that Egypt has been relying on cash aid for years, amid growing fears that economic pressures and regional conflicts will push more migrants from the region to the shores of Europe.

The European Union package includes grants and soft loans for a period of three years to the largest country in the Arab world in terms of population.

Most of the money - €5 billion ($5.4 billion) - is known as total financial aid, which will be paid directly to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

The European Union rarely avoids imposing guarantees, but European Parliament elections have been scheduled to be held from June 6 to 9; It is a timeline that would slow down the delivery of those funds if those guarantees were imposed.

With those elections in mind, von der Leyen announced plans for “an urgent aid operation worth up to 1 billion euros” for Egypt, referring in a letter to European Parliament President Roberta Mizzola to “the economic and financial situation in the country.”

Von der Leyen attributed the Egyptian economy's widespread impact to the economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine and the wars in Gaza and Sudan, and said that "it is necessary to ensure that the first major contribution" will reach Egypt by the end of this year 2024.

To achieve this, the Commission will use the rarely used Article 213 of the EU treaties, which stipulates that the funds must be approved by the 27 member states - but not Parliament, the bloc's only democratically elected institution.