Egyptian Needs and European Indicators

Slightly before the Palestinian report on Pegase, the European Court of Auditors prepared a similar one analyzing the effects of EU aid on the Egyptian governance. The auditors evaluated the EU’s support for governance in Egypt as “well intentioned, but ineffective” adding that “the main human rights programme was largely unsuccessful. Equally, Women’s and minorities’ rights were not given sufficient attention by the EU, whereas the Egyptian authorities by and large ignore them. The effectiveness as the report points it out “depends on the local and regional political environment and comes in combination with the authorities’ commitment in the area.” The judgement clearly reflects the limits of external assistance, the constraints to be taken into account. Unlike in the case of the Palestinian ECA-report, virtually all the recommendations of the Court’s report (see paragraphs 80 to 82) have been accepted by the Commission and the EEAS; the conclusions were formally adopted in October. Improving the effectiveness of EU policy dialogue on governance on the one hand and strengthening the management of the budget support instrument on the other hand was reiterated, while at the same time the Commission reshaped the internal rules for granting budget support (see next paragraph). It was also stressed by the Commission and the EEAS that “in the context of the design of a new State-Building Contract under AAP 2013,  (the ongoing dialogue) will include democratic governance indicators.” However, even if the democratic transition in Egypt continues to be supported, there are more and more who fail to see much improvement in the situation in Egypt.

As the recent two Conclusions of the Council of the European Union (August 2013, February 2014) on Egypt prove, budgetary assistance is not available to those governments that are not ready to cooperate with European norms (cf. the military takeover in Summer 2013). The conclusions list at length the democratic values and principles in order to explain that only “assistance in the socio-economic sector and to civil society will continue” (EEAS/EC 2013). After the Council reiterated its position in February 2014 (EEAS/EC 2014), the Egyptian Ministry of Planning issued a communication on the Egyptian reading of the story: “the EU appoints itself as a judge or guardian to assess the political and social developments in Egypt, and thus it interferes in the management of the transitional phase. This is an unacceptable and incorrect approach by the EU, rejected by the Egyptian people who carried out two revolutions to achieve genuine democracy and to be able to determine their future on their own” (MEM 2014).

ECA (2013): EU cooperation with Egypt in the field of governance. Special Report 4/2013. Luxemburg: European Court of Auditors.

EEAS/EC (2013) Council conclusions on Egypt. The Council of the European Union, Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 21 August 2013, (12-01-2014)

EEAS/EC (2014) Council conclusions on Egypt. The Council of the European Union, Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 10 February 2014, (12-02-214)

MEM (2014) Egyptian foreign ministry slams EU council conclusions. Middle East Monitor, February 11, 2014,



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