The European Union will work alongside the Egyptian authorities on power regardless of widespread human rights abuses underneath the management of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
European fee president Ursula von der Leyen introduced in Cairo on Wednesday (15 June) the signature of a memorandum of understanding between the EU and Israel, Egypt and the EU to extend gasoline provides to the EU.
The settlement comes as Europe tries to scale back its dependence on Russian fossil fuels within the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We wish to diversify to reliable suppliers and Egypt is a reliable accomplice,” von der Leyen stated after assembly Egypt’s president al-Sisi.
The deal signed on Wednesday argues that pure gasoline may have an essential position within the EU’s power consumption and electrical energy era till 2030, recognising the necessity to scale up the manufacturing of hydrogen and different renewables within the close to future.
Below the settlement, imports from Israel would contain gasoline being processed at Egypt’s liquefaction crops earlier than being shipped to Europe as liquefied pure gasoline (LNG).
However the trilateral settlement would permit Egypt to buy a number of the gasoline being transported to the EU and different international locations by means of the Egyptian territory for its personal consumption or export.
“It is a massive step ahead within the power provide to Europe, but in addition for Egypt to turn out to be a regional power hub,” von der Leyen stated.
“It is a historic day for the EU’s power safety,” stated EU power commissioner Kadri Simon.
The deal additionally consists of measures to scale back methane leaks and promote the manufacturing of hydrogen.
Whereas it doesn’t create any authorized or monetary obligations for the EU, it’s anticipated to push up investments in gasoline infrastructure within the nation.
The memorandum, which is able to run for 9 years, mentions the necessity to discover methods to encourage European corporations to spend money on pure gasoline exploration and manufacturing in Israel and Egypt.
Total, the EU goals to import 14 to fifteen billion cubic metres per 12 months from Egypt, protecting round 10 % of the bloc’s gasoline imports from Russia.
However different international locations like Azerbaijan are seen as a possible various supply for EU imports as Russia’s stockpiles account for about 40 % of all its gasoline imports.
‘A clean test”
Von der Leyen’s go to to Cairo and the brand new gasoline provide settlement have additionally renewed the talk over wider EU-Egypt relations given Egypt’s dismal human rights document.
EU parliament’s lead MEP on Egypt, Inexperienced Mounir Satouri, raised considerations on Wednesday over using EU funds to assist the Egyptian authorities.
In a letter, he urged von der Leyen to press al-Sisi on human rights throughout her conferences in Cairo.
A gaggle of NGOs echoed the identical message final month, arguing that the dearth of progress in Egypt’s human rights document ought to have “critical penalties” on Europe’s assist for al-Sisi’s authorities.
Earlier this month, the EU commissioner for neighbourhood and enlargement Oliver Varhelyi introduced that the EU could be supporting Egypt with practically €300m of EU funding — together with €118m of direct funds assist.
However Satouri stated that the EU is issuing “a clean test” to the Egyptian authorities.
“These €118m of funds assist won’t profit the individuals, however a dictator, and are opposite to the human rights strategy of the EU and the European Parliament,” he tweeted.
Throughout a committee debate within the parliament on Wednesday, Varhelyi stated that there have been “no grounds” to refuse the funds, arguing that the funding was accredited by the earlier EU fee.
The EU parliament beforehand argued that the fee ought to chorus from financially supporting governments in third international locations witnessing widespread violations of human rights.
“The human rights state of affairs in Egypt requires a critical revision of the Fee’s funds assist operations and requires the restriction of EU support to primarily supporting democratic actors and civil society,” MEPs stated in a decision in 2020.
The EU-Egypt Affiliation Council, which is able to happen in Luxembourg on Sunday (19 June), is about to endorse the brand new partnership till 2027.