In Egypt, there is “a strong demand for Italy, a widespread demand for support and for the political, economic and cultural presence of our country. A demand that I’ll do everything in my power to satisfy, not least by working to focus Europe’s attention more closely on Egypt’s expectations”. These were the words of Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, speaking at the Italian-Egyptian Business Council in Rome. The meeting took place in the presence of the Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, on a state visit to Italy, and a high-profile delegation representing the two countries’ institutional and economic communities.
Egypt: a strategic partner
“Revitalising growth and employment are the two pre-conditions of the stabilisation process for Egypt and the entire Mediterranean region”, explained Terzi. The Minister, who has visit Cairo 3 times in the last 9 months, pointed out that “Egypt is a highly strategic partner for Italy at the bilateral and regional levels. […] Italian Development Cooperation is about to begin negotiations to open bilateral credit lines worth 45 million euros to promote the growth of Egyptian small and medium-sized enterprises”, added Terzi.
800 Italian companies
“800 Italian companies are already operating in Egypt. ‘System Italy’ provides jobs and prosperity to thousands of Egyptians. But at this crucial time for the future of democracy on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, this privileged economic relationship is becoming even more important. It is acquiring a significance that transcends its commercial aspects and is taking on a strong political flavour”, commented Terzi. He hoped that “the Egyptian leadership will continue its commitment to safeguarding investment, the rule of law and the general climate of security that is necessary for business decisions and inward investment”.
7 cooperation agreements
The Italian and Egyptian delegations signed 7 documents, including a politically broad-ranging Joint Declaration on bilateral cooperation signed by Prime Minister Monti and President Morsi.
Minister Terzi and the Minister for Economic Development, Corrado Passera, signed, with their Egyptian counterparts, an action plan on bilateral economic cooperation for 2012-15. The plan establishes the scope and arrangements for the partnership between the two countries and entrusts the Farnesina and the Ministry for Economic Development with joint guidance of initiatives to revitalise and further develop economic-commercial relations and promote investment.
The Italian and Egyptian Foreign Ministers, Giulio Terzi and Kamel Amr, signed four Joint Declarations opening up important development prospects in various strategic sectors.
These encompass: tourism; the partnership for the development of small and medium-sized companies in Egypt; the use of part of the funds resulting from the conversion of Egyptian debt to build industrial bakeries in Egypt; and cooperation on vocational and technical training.
Lastly, the two Foreign Ministers signed an Agreement defining in detail a number of concrete initiatives for the second stage of an important project envisaging Italian assistance for the development of Egypt’s rail transport sector.