Remarks following the signature of the Financing Agreement with Ms Sahar Nasr, Minister of International Cooperation of Egypt

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Let me say a few words. Thank you very much: first of all because my voice today is very low, but also because I will have to run to the Arab League for an important EU-League of Arab States’ Ministerial we have today.

It is a particularly sad time for our region: attacks in Berlin yesterday; the very sad episode of the killing of the Russian ambassador [Andrei Karlov] yesterday in Ankara and just a few days ago another attack, this time in Jordan and one week ago here in Cairo. This tells us that we are jointly facing a very difficult and challenging time for our common region and this is the kind of cooperation that we like to bring in the region and for the people.

I would like to thank my friend, the Minister [of International Cooperation of Egypt, Sahar Nasr] for an excellent cooperation in particular on these two projects we signed today. One in support – and I know, even though I do not understand Arabic, that you described the projects at length – but especially the fact that we managed to work together to promote job creation for young people in a country that is made of young people and where young people must find their place in life and in jobs, with good quality jobs and a future and also a present. And also a project to finance meals for children in school, especially the most vulnerable children, especially the young girls who are sometimes the first ones to pay when a family is facing a difficulty back home.

This is the kind of practical cooperation that the European Union is bringing and this is the kind of practical cooperation we like to establish with our partners in the region. And I would like to thank the Minister and Egypt in general, for managing to be, in this, so concrete. And I am sure that what we signed today will bring something really good and very practical again for children, for people.

Maybe next time I come, we visit together a project because this is what we are doing: bringing something good for the people in everyday live. There is very little politics in this; there is a lot of practical work to make people’s lives better in a time and in a region where this is very much needed.

So this needs humble, constant work, determination. Also it means overcoming some difficulties, some differences we might face in our discussions or in our political talks, but the priority for us, the priority for the European Union in all its partnerships is this: work to bring something good for the people, for the everyday lives of the citizens of our region which is the region around the Mediterranean. I would like to thank you very much and I apologise today there are no questions. The Arab League is waiting but I thank you very much.