The containment of the large and young Egyption population is the main aspect of cooperation. The paper states,
On migration, the EU stands ready to continue supporting Egypt in its efforts to manage its land and sea borders with a view to preventing irregular departures, and to host large numbers of migrants and refugees. The establishment of a single, sustainable national asylum system is among the key priorities.
While arrivals from Egypt are relatively few at the moment, this might change in the future if food prices rise or if the borders to Libya are less militarized. Sudan, the country of the unaccomplished revolution, is just once mentioned in the paper. Keeping Egypt’s southern border closed is one of the biggest concerns of the EU. FRONTEX considers Egypt „a key strategic country for border management and security“, but Egypt has so far not been willing to cooperate with this agency.
The EU stands ready to support Egypt in maintaining its capacity to prevent irregular departures by sea, as well as to strengthen the control of its border with Libya (irregular departures) and Sudan (irregular arrivals). This is of particular importance in light of a six-fold increase of irregular arrivals of Egyptian nationals to the EU in 2021 (9 219), of which over 90% to Italy, mostly via Libya. During the first five months of 2022, more than 3 500 Egyptians reached Italy, which is close to four times as many as in the same period in 2021 and at least thirty times more than in the same period in 2020. Egyptians are the first nationality of migrants irregularly arriving in Italy so far in 2022.
The Draft Action Plan is framed by the long-standing economic cooperation, codified in the EU-Egypt Association Agreement since 2004. Billions of Euro of funding for economic development are meant to address the „root causes“ of migration, which is certainly not a valid approach. In combination with the current economic reforms induced by IMF and the soaring food prices, the chances for income development for the lower classes remain meagre. The main purpose of the economic cooperation is to bribe the military regime to contain the population and keep Egypt’s borders closed.
We also received the draft minutes of the meetings of the EU-Egypt Association Council 2017 and 2018, which have been published recently. The Annex V gives an overview on the self-confident Egyptian statements on the meeting, December 2018. Like the Turkish regime, the Egypt regime knows very well how to keep EU in sweatbox.