Egypt , EU initial partnership pact
Representatives of the Egyptian government and the European Union initialed an economic association agreement on Friday at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Putting their pen to paper were the chief EU negotiator, Peter Zangl, and Egypt's Ambassador to the EU, Raouf Saad.
The economic association agreement covers security, economic and social relations, and is seen as part of a general process to establish a free trade area in the Mediterranean basin by 2010.
From here the initialed accord will be referred to the Egyptian parliament in Strasbourg, and to the individual parliaments of the 15 EU member countries. This stage of the approval process is expected to take between one and two years.
Saad said the agreement will form the basis for long-term relations between Egypt and the EU. One consequence, he stated, was that the EU will help Egypt continue with its economic reform program. The EU, he said, would offer Egypt some $240 million to modernize industry ahead of removing customs barriers.
Saad added that the Egyptian markets would have 10 to 12 years to adjust before having to provide unlimited access to European products. This, he said, was a grace period that would be used to modernize industry and increase the competitiveness of Egyptian products. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)