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 Although some licenses have since been revoked, campaigners are urging Britain to halt all its arms exports to Egypt.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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More