The European Union (EU) is intensifying efforts to conclude an economic support agreement for Egypt amid an escalating Israel-Hamas conflict that could develop into a regional conflict and lead to a new migration crisis, the Financial Times (FT) reported. According to the publisher, last weekend in Cairo talks with senior representatives of the European Commission (EC), whose work on the agreement has already received informal approval from representatives of EU member states, were held.
According to the publication, the EU’s agreement with Egypt is designed to fund projects aimed at creating jobs, as well as help with the country’s energy transition to “support its economy and indirectly avoid mass migration to Europe.” Other details, including the amount and how the project will be financed, are not yet known.
The FT notes that talks with Egypt have been underway for months, but the situation in the Gaza Strip has “given the issue new urgency.” The EC spokesperson, commenting on the information about the alleged preparation of an agreement, recalled the words of EC Deputy President Margaritis Schinas, who last week said it was necessary to “actively engage with Egypt” to make sure it “receives all the support it deserves for its important role in the region as a transit country”.
Israel’s war with Palestinian Hamas has been ongoing since 7 October. On the Israeli side, 1,400 people have been killed, in the Gaza Strip - more than 4,000. On 21 October, the first 20 trucks with humanitarian aid to the Palestinians passed through the only working on the border with Egypt Rafah checkpoint. Another 14 trucks have passed through today, 23 October, at night. Israel has promised to prevent the delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip.
Previously, the FT wrote that Egypt threatened to send refugees from Gaza to the EU in response to Western pressure. The Palestinian Permanent Representative in the Gaza Strip reported that more than 1 million Palestinians in the enclave are displaced.