By August 22, 2013 Read More →
EU Suspends Some Military Aid to Egypt

EU Suspends Some Military Aid to Egypt

At an emergency meeting held yesterday in Brussels, foreign ministers from the EU member states decided to partially suspend the provision of arms to Egypt in light of the recent violence. The decision will rescind licenses which permit the export of military equipment that could be used for “internal repression”. However, this covers only certain types of military hardware and does not represent a total ban on arms exports. Currently, the top suppliers of military assistance to Egypt are Germany, the UK and Spain. For its part, the UK has already scaled back some of its contributions.

Overall, Europe has pledged a total of € 5 billion in aid to Egypt – € 1 billion is to come directly from the EU while the rest will be provided by individual member states. However, the majority of these funds are not destined for the Egyptian government. Rather, they have been earmarked for improving basic social services (sanitation, water supply) and for infrastructure development projects such as the construction of Cairo’s subway. Although this aid package was agreed to in November, only € 16 million has been paid out in 2013 so far. As David Butter of the Chatham House think tank explains, “[t]he € 5 bn package is linked to the government having coherent medium-term programmes.” The EU estimates to have spent a total of € 450 million in Egypt over the past three years.

The EU had a difficult time in preparing its response to the crisis because of the ire it has drawn from anti-Brotherhood groups who resent its criticism of the army. At the close of yesterday’s emergency meeting, High Representative Ashton stated on behalf of all EU ministers that they “strongly condemn” the violence in Egypt and that they feel the military response has been “disproportionate”. However the statement also labelled protesters’ attacks on churches and policemen in Sinai as “acts of terrorism”.

Yet new pledges from some gulf states call into question whether the EU’s actions can truly be effective. Soon after Morsi was removed from office in early July, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE promised Egypt € 12 billion in aid. Of this, € 5 billion has already been delivered – an unusually fast follow-through which “demonstrates the importance the Gulf attaches to stabilising Egypt.” By contrast, EU military aid to Egypt is worth around € 140 million per year.

The EU’s foreign ministers, who will meet next in Lithuania in early September, have made it clear that “further actions could follow if the situation in Egypt doesn’t improve.”

Read More:

Laurence Norman – EU Foreign Ministers Move Carefully on Egypt Ties – The Wall Street Journal

Mark Tran – EU denounces Egypt violence but will maintain aid programmes – The Guardian

EU suspends arms sales to Egypt over crackdown – BBC

EU Ministers Condemn Violence in Egypt – SkyNews

EU stops some arms sales to Egypt – EUobserver

(Flickr image courtesy of Rennett Stowe)

Notes:
1. The full conclusion of the foreign affairs council meeting can be found here.
2. EU Foreign Ministers Move Carefully on Egypt Ties, Laurence Norman, The Wall Street Journal
3. EU Foreign Ministers Move Carefully on Egypt Ties, Laurence Norman, The Wall Street Journal
The full conclusion of the foreign affairs council meeting can be found here.
EU Foreign Ministers Move Carefully on Egypt Ties, Laurence Norman, The Wall Street Journal
EU Foreign Ministers Move Carefully on Egypt Ties, Laurence Norman, The Wall Street Journal

About the Author:

Sebastian Andrei is NABATAEANS’ editor for EU - Middle East Trade and Political Relations. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Vienna, where he majored in journalism with minors in political science as well as business and economics. Sebastian is responsible for reporting on the European Union’s external trade relations. He also writes about economic development and investment opportunities in Europe as well as about policy changes which affect the EU common market.

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