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The European Union warned Egypt on Wednesday it could lose funds from its 5 billion euro($6.5 billion) aid package if democratic reforms fail to satisfy Brussels, and said Cairo has already lost some additional funding.
In a report on reforms in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, the European Commission said Cairo has shown in sufficient progress since the 2011 revolt that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak and handed power to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement.
It listed “serious setbacks” in areas such as human rights, and criticized Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi for pushing through constitutional changes that have plunged the country into “a deeply divisive political crisis”.
Failure to address EU concerns could result in cutbacks in aid for Mursi's cash-strapped government, the EU's commissioner for enlargement, Stefan Fuele, told a news conference.
EU diplomats say Brussels' relationship with Cairo is complicated by the desire to maintain good relations with the government, in part because of its role in regional diplomacy, particularly relations between Israel and the Palestinians.
"I am hoping BRICS would one day become E-BRICS where E stands for Egypt. I hope E-BRICS would emerge when we start moving the economy," the president was quoted as saying by the South Asian paper.
BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and recent member South Africa, used to designate a bloc of large, fast-growing economies which were initially projected to overtake the current major global economies in the first half of the twenty first century.