News / Europe

    EU Debates Aid Cuts to Egypt

    EU official Bernardino Leon
    EU official Bernardino Leon
    ReutersSelah Hennessy
    The European Union is debating whether to cut aid to Egypt following a week of violence that has left nearly 900 people dead. Senior diplomats were in Brussels Monday to discuss the European response but analysts say the outcome could be limited.

    The diplomatic meeting in Brussels Monday was a step towards coordinating a European response to Egypt’s bloodshed. On Wednesday, EU foreign ministers are to hold an emergency meeting.  No specific proposals have yet been made, but analysts say suspending Europe’s aid program is an option, as is halting all arms shipments to Egypt.

    Last year the European Union pledged nearly $7 billion in aid and loans to Egypt.

    Shashank Joshi is an Egypt analyst at the Royal United Services Institute research group in London. He said cutting European aid will not be a huge game changer.

    “Simply cutting off aid probably wouldn't be enough and I think one way to apply serious pressure on the Egyptian authorities to cease their campaign of oppression and to force some kind of political accommodation would probably be more robust sanctions” he said.

    EU has trade leverage with Egypt

    According to Egypt's statistics office, European countries are its biggest trading partner. In 2011 the trade volume reached over $30 billion.

    Europe also exports military equipment to Egypt. In the first quarter of this year, Britain approved licenses for about $70 million in military equipment, the bulk for military helicopters. Although some licenses have since been revoked, campaigners are urging Britain to halt all its arms exports to Egypt.

    In the United States, for the fiscal year that begins in October, President Barack Obama has requested $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt.

    Joshi said U.S. cuts could have a much more important impact inside Egypt - but he said the U.S. is unlikely to follow in Europe’s footsteps.

    "I think the Americans really are not paying much attention to what the Europeans are doing or what anybody else is doing. What they are concerned about is, will this really help or will we lose important influence with the generals?”

    On Monday Saudi Arabia said Arab and Islamic countries will support Egypt if Western nations do cut their aid.

    The Egyptian army ousted President Mohamed Morsi in early July. Within days, three Gulf Arab states pledged a total of about $12 billion to support the new leadership.

    Western aid  will not be Egypt’s biggest concern. But its economy is a major worry said Joshi.

    “The effect of any aid cut-off is dwarfed by the broader impact of political unrest on the economy, which is already completely shredded over three years since Mubarak's fall, made worse during Morsi's period of government. And now attacks in key public cities, in tourist towns in the Sinai, means that tourist numbers are drastically falling off.”

    Europeans make up about 70 percent of Egypt’s tourist industry. But Germany and others are warning their citizens against unnecessary travel there.

    If those travel warnings stay in place it will have a major impact on the Egyptian economy, said Joshi.

    Britons lining up for a flight from Heathrow airport on Monday said they were not put off by the recent violence. One man interviewed at the airport, who declined to give his name, said he had visited Egypt during previous periods of unrest and that his Red Sea resort had not been affected by the unrest. 

    According to Egyptian government statistics from 2010 tourism created either direct or indirect employment to one in eight Egyptians.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 19, 2013 2:50 PM
    Cutting off aid to Egypt is a very bad idea. Egypt is in need of its good friends now, it is a bad time to show negative impression it, it will only mean direct support for the man-eating Muslim Brotherhood. If you cut arms supplies to Egypt, what happens to the supplies to the Muslim Brotherhood? That will tilt the balance of arms in the country in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. Or is Europe fueling crisis in Egypt through Muslim Brotherhood?

    Sanctions? Another bad approach. Sanctions and aid limitation is simply asking Egypt to reroute its commercial activities to China. Already China is becoming Africa's largest trading partner and including a vacant Egypt will just be like a handover. In fact this is the time that Egypt needs its friends to rally round it to solve the problem of stagnation and regression caused by the Muslim Brotherhood. For once.

    Saudi Arabia is leading a positive way. Goes to prove the edge of the so-called dictatorships that are cool-headed over islamic democracy under islamist regimes like Iran, Turkey and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. By now the West must be rethinking its support of the removal of the likes of Mubarak and Ben Ali in preference for so-called islamic democracy in Egypt and Tunisia. Those were mistakes in the past, fresh mistakes should be avoided in the present and in the future. Let there be no cutting of aid, no sanctions. Instead let the friends and lovers of Egypt rally round it in its trying time to solve the problems created by the Muslim Brotherhood. Unless Europe wishes Egypt a relapse into oblivion and retrogression into antiquity. Instead let the Muslim Brotherhood be banned forever, not just in Egypt, but everywhere else.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora