Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ introductory statement at the meeting of European leaders with the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo

It is indeed a great pleasure to be here in Cairo on this very special day for European-Egyptian relations and for those of us, Greece and Cyprus, who have worked hard towards reaching the point where we elevate our relationship to the level of a comprehensive and strategic partnership.

This indeed is a milestone day which recognises Egypt’s profound strategic importance regarding the stability and prosperity, not just of the Eastern Mediterranean, but I would argue, of Europe as a whole.

And indeed, the draft Joint Declaration that we will sign today lays out the various building blocks for actually implementing our intention to make this strategic partnership have the necessary depth, whether it comes to economic issues or issues of energy, where we recognise the importance that we can play in helping you not just stabilise the economy, but ensure that you can provide the jobs for the young Egyptians by attracting foreign direct investment.

Whether this relates to energy or projects such as the Greece-Egypt Interconnector can play a critical role in helping you develop renewable energy resources, but also ensuring that these renewable resources will reach Europe and in that sense, strengthen our energy security. Whether it means thinking about new and more ambitious projects, such as the ability maybe in the future, to store CO2 in the geological formations that you have as a result of exploited or depleted gas fields, or whether it comes to cooperating in issues such as migration, where, first of all, we need to recognise the tremendous work that Egypt has done in hosting migrants and refugees from many countries that are faced with severe political and economic difficulties.

And I think President Sisi is right to point out that if Egypt is prosperous and stable, this will help us also stabilise other countries, such as Libya and Sudan, whose people are maybe urged to flee war persecution, but also economic desperation. And of course, as the President of the Commission pointed out, it is incredibly important to make sure that we crack down on those smugglers who prey upon the desperation of innocent people to ensure that no other new routes of illegal migration are open towards Europe, but also to make sure that we offer legal pathways to migration for young Egyptians seeking work in the European Union.

We have worked very closely with Egypt in terms of our bilateral partnership.
We have welcomed over many decades Egyptians who are keen to work in Greece. And I think that our partnership can serve as a role model of what we can achieve together as a result of this new comprehensive strategic partnership.

Finally, on the issue related to Gaza, let me also share our deep concern about the humanitarian situation and let me reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire and the release of all the hostages. And let me also very much support what President Christodoulides said that we cannot accept under any circumstance any forced displacement of Palestinian people into Egypt.

And we recognise Egypt’s profound security concerns when it comes to this issue. And I would hope that we can work together, the European Union and Egypt, in terms of exploring possibilities of how we can work again towards what is the only realistic long term political solution to the Palestinian tragedy. And that is, of course, a two state solution.

So, again, Mr. President, it’s a great pleasure to be here and it’s also a great pleasure to be accompanied by the President of the Commission, my distinguished colleagues at the European Council. And I think the presence of so many of us here today is testimony to the particular value we attach to this strategic partnership.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ meeting with the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met earlier in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, before the start of the multilateral meeting of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European leaders with the President of Egypt to upgrade EU-Egypt relations to a Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership.

During the meeting, the excellent level of bilateral relations was discussed, as Greece considers Egypt a strategic partner.

The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction for the upgrading of EU-Egypt relations to Comprehensive and Strategic Cooperation, for the implementation of which Kyriakos Mitsotakis took the lead. He also underlined that the stability and prosperity of Egypt is of great importance for the EU.

During the meeting, the two leaders confirmed their decision to upgrade and deepen the strategic relationship between the two countries through a Joint Declaration on the establishment of a High-Level Cooperation Council (HCC) between Greece and Egypt, the first meeting of which will be held in Athens in the near future.

Particular emphasis was placed on energy cooperation and the ‘GREGY Interconnector project’, which will transfer clean energy from Egypt to Greece, contributing to the energy security of the whole of Europe.

On the migration issue, the Prime Minister noted that Egypt is a key country regarding the management of migration for the entire EU. He stressed the need for Egypt’s cooperation in the management of illegal migration to avoid the opening of a new migration corridor from Libya to Crete.

They also discussed issues of regional interest, with emphasis on the latest developments in Gaza. The Prime Minister expressed his growing concern about the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and his appreciation for Egypt’s efforts and its responsible role in the crisis. He stressed that it was of the utmost importance that there should be no destabilisation of the region.