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European Leaders’ Attention Turns To Mubarak …

  • February 3rd, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

eurobook-cover.jpgMore outside pressure may come to bear on the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, when European Union heads of government meet at Brussels on Friday (4.2.11).

The summit has a lengthy, pre-set agenda, to include proposals for elaborating the terms and management of the system being built up for handling financial crises, using the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

Defence of the Euro currency against shocks like the sovereign debt crises in Greece, Ireland or Portugal must be central — but so is the set of possible outcomes in a strategically important country like Egypt.

The EU has been dissatisfied with the government in Cairo, and has been pressing its policy that relates development aid to governance standards, for some years.

The Brussels-based European Voice this week quantified that in a tallying-up of how the support is allocated:-

“The EU has not suspended its assistance to Egypt, which is scheduled to be around €150 million a year (A$203.8-million; xe.com, 3.2.11) for the three years 2011-13. Of that total, 11% is earmarked for democracy, human rights, good governance and justice. The balance is evenly split between support to Egypt’s competitiveness and to sustainable development.

“In the past five years, 2006-10, the EU has provided €739m (A$1.004-billion). Of that total, €530m (A$720-million) was paid in direct support to the government’s budget, but made conditional on reforms to health, education, transport and water supply. The rest was provided through projects.”

The heads of government now appear to be close to giving up on those incentives for Mr Mubarak to follow a dutiful line, and join with many others in declaring he must go.

Meeting as the European Council, they are also expected to debate energy policy, more specifically the question of getting guaranteed fuel supplies from Russia and sources in Central Asia.

Reference

Catherine Bremer and Emmanuel Jarry, Daniel Flynn,Tim Pearce;  “France to present joint EU proposal with Germany”, Reuters, London/Paris, 3.1.11. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/03/eurozone-france-presidency-idUSPIS3DE7VR20110203, (3.2.11).

Toby Vogel, “EU hopes for peaceful handover in Egypt”, European Voice, Brussels, 3.2.11.
http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/eu-hopes-for-peaceful-handover-in-egypt/70106.aspx, (3.2.11).

Valentina Pop, “EU leaders to grapple with divergent energy proposals”, EU Observer, Brussels, 3.2.11. http://euobserver.com/9/31740, (3.2.11).

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