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Official visit by the President of the Government of Spain to Egypt

Sánchez stresses Spain's interest in further strengthening cooperation with Egypt to Al-Sisi

Cairo (Egypt), Wednesday 1 December 2021

Sánchez, the first Spanish president to visit Egypt since 2009, also met with the Egyptian prime minister and the secretary general of the Arab League, and took part in a forum of Spanish and Egyptian businessmen.

During the conference, which had a strong economic, business and cultural focus, the president noted the interest of the institutions and companies of both countries in deepening bilateral relations, with a special interest in trade, investment and culture.

Trade and economic relations

The day began with a Spanish-Egyptian business forum, which was closed by the President of the Government of Spain and the Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly. During his speech, Sánchez expressed his confidence that economic relations between Spain and Egypt, which have great potential, will increase significantly in the coming years in sectors such as transport infrastructure, water and renewable energies.

Since 2015, the number of Spanish companies in Egypt has quadrupled, with more than 60 today, and trade has increased from 1.8 billion to 2.59 billion in 2018. Spanish investment is responsible for the direct creation of more than 2,600 jobs in sectors such as water infrastructure; wind energy, wind turbine and electric turbine technology; technology and innovation consultancy; design and construction of military and civilian vessels; manufacture of aircraft, trains and railway equipment; oil and gas infrastructure; and manufacture of defence systems.

Sánchez pointed out that trade relations between the two countries are diverse and flexible, and expressed confidence that they will be strengthened in the coming years. "The preliminary data attests to this, it is encouraging: between January and August 2021 Spanish exports were 1.019 billion euros, i.e. they grew by 8% compared to the same period in 2020," said the president.

During the forum, Spain's commitment to Egypt was highlighted. President Sánchez announced the renewal of the current Financial Protocol, which includes an increase in funding from 300 million euros to 400 million euros, and which has been set out in a Joint Declaration. During the trip, a Declaration was also agreed to promote the creation of the Spanish-Egyptian Business Committee to strengthen economic cooperation. During the business meeting it was announced that the first meeting of the Committee will take place next year in Spain.

Meetings with President Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Madbouly

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe president of the Government of Spain underlined: "Spain sees Egypt as a fundamental motor for relations with the Mediterranean and the Arab world, from the European point of view. We want to contribute to a much more dynamic Euro-Mediterranean relationship, with a positive agenda that promotes and contributes to stability and shared prosperity on both sides of the sea that unites us.

After the business forum, Sánchez held a meeting with Al-Sisi in which they discussed bilateral, economic and trade relations between the two countries; regional issues; and security, migration and human rights, a priority issue for Spain's foreign policy.

The president stressed that Spain and Egypt are friendly countries "united by many political, economic and human ties". In this regard, both presidents expressed their interest in continuing to "strengthen cooperation in many areas". Sánchez considers Egypt a country of strategic importance in the Arab world and the Mediterranean. For this reason, Sánchez pointed out that now is the time to reinforce political commitment in this regard, taking advantage of the 'non-paper' presented by Spain in 2020 with the aim of EU countries giving a renewed impetus to their relationship with their Southern Neighbourhood and looking towards the Mediterranean once again.

After the meeting with Al-Sisi, Sánchez held a meeting with Prime Minister Madbouly in which they discussed bilateral relations, issues on the regional agenda and the evolution of the pandemic.

The president of the Government of Spain argued that economic recovery, both for Spain and Egypt, comes from vaccinations and "is the necessary impetus for our societies to be safe and, therefore, to reactivate their lives". For this reason, Spain, committed to universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine, has donated almost 4.5 million doses to Egypt.

MOU on culture and sports and physical education

As a result of the strength of bilateral relations, the two countries have initialled two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) committing to increasing collaboration on sectors of shared interest such as culture, sports and physical education.

The president expressed his interest in continuing to promote cultural exchange between Spain and Egypt, "which enriches us mutually", and stressed the importance of strengthening collaboration in areas such as sport, "with a special focus on young people, who are so important for the development of our countries".

Meeting with the Secretary General of the Arab League

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaAnother key moment of the trip was Sánchez's meeting with the Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit. This regional organisation, which brings together the 22 Arab states and has representation in Madrid, is particularly relevant in the Middle East Peace Process.

During the meeting, Sánchez and Gheit confirmed the excellent relations between Spain and the Arab League and discussed the relaunch of Spain's Mediterranean policy and the situation in the region.

The president of the Government of Spain concluded his speech by stressing his conviction that Spain and Egypt "have the capacity and the political will to revitalise these relations, and I am convinced that we are going to deepen our cooperation and work towards achieving our common goals".

Non official translation