General Sisi: Gatekeeper of Imperialist Fortress Europe

EU and Egypt sign agreement to control migration

By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 2 November 2022,


On 30 October, the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, signed an agreement with Egypt for the first phase of a border management programme of €80 million. “The EU, IOM Egypt, and Civipolcf agree on a package to enhance EU-Egypt cooperation in migration management,” the EU in Egypt wrote on its official Twitter account.

The project aims to reduce so-called “illegal migration” to Europe. For this purpose, the EU agreed to provide the Egyptian regime with money for the procurement of surveillance equipment, such as four search and rescue vessels, thermal cameras, and satellite positioning systems. [1]

Since late 2016, when the EU started close collaboration with the military dictatorship in Cairo, “irregular migration” to Europe from the Egypt's northern coast has slowed sharply. However, migration from Egypt across its long desert border with Libya and from Libya's Mediterranean coast to Europe has been on the rise in the last years.

According to Ministry of Interior of Italy, a total of 16,413 migrants who reached the country by boat this year said that they were nationals of Egypt. In addition, over 26,500 Egyptians were stopped at the Libyan border last year.

European authorities see a high potential for large migration flows given the fact that, according to the International Organisation for Migration, the number of migrants and host community members in Egypt is approximately 9.1 million coming from 133 countries.

Reuters reports about an EU study, which predicts that “Egypt is likely to experience "intensified flows" of migrants in the medium to long term due to regional instability, climate change, demographic shifts and lack of economic opportunities.


Imperialist Hypocrisy


The new deal between the EU and Egypt is a cynical masquerade by all accounts. As is well known, the country’s dictator General Sisi took power on 3 July 2013 via a military coup. [2] In the following weeks, he brutally crushed mass protests – most famously the horrible Rabaa massacre on 14 August when the army killed 2,600 demonstrators on a single day! [3] Since then, the country has been transformed into a large prison camp where even a critical comment on Facebook about the regime can land you in jail. At least 60,000 people are currently imprisoned. [4] The regime regularly kills opponents via mass executions. Former President Mohamed Morsi is one of many who was thrown in jail under horrible conditions where he subsequently died.

It is such kind of bloody regime with which the EU authorities are closely collaborating since years. [5] Earlier this year, the French investigative website Disclose published a report, based on hundreds of classified French documents, about the cooperation between the French and the Egypt military in a covert mission codenamed Operation Sirli. This operation, which began in February 2016, is said to have resulted in the killing of about 60,000 people! [6]

It therefore reveals an extraordinary cynicism if French Ambassador to Egypt Marc Baréty during the ceremony of signing of the above-mentioned migration deal, welcomes the “strategic partnership between the EU and Egypt which aims to save lives at sea and combat human trafficking.” Or take the praising words of Laurent de Boeck, Chief of Mission of IOM Egypt: “We welcome this new partnership, as a continuation of four years of fruitful cooperation with the Liaison Agency with International Organizations (LAWIO) of the Ministry of Defence, which allowed promoting and defending the human rights of migrants.

Hence, it is nothing but hypocritical words for face-saving when the EU Commission says in a recently published document that Egypt has addressed irregular migration "predominantly from a security perspective, sometimes at the expense of other dimensions of migration management, including the rights based protection migrants, refugees and asylum seekers". Or, to take another quote from the same EU document, that the programme will seek to develop the capacity of the Egyptian ministry of defence and other government to apply "rights-based, protection oriented and gender sensitive approaches" in their border management.“ This is like urging Hitler to treat well concentration camp prisoner!


Aristocratic Europe


As we have pointed out repeatedly, the alliance of the imperialist EU and the military dictatorship of Egypt is not surprising at all. The “democratic” Western countries have always relied on raw materials and other commodities from countries which are dominated by authoritarian regimes and brutal dictatorships. Just think about oil and gas from the Gulf states or Russia. Or the cheap products from countries like China, Vietnam or Burma/Myanmar.

Hence, the RCIT characterizes the Western imperialist “democracies” as aristocratic powers which are rich enough to accept some forms of democracy at home because they exist on the basis of super-exploitation and oppression in the semi-colonial countries of the Global South. [7]

In fact, this has always been the nature of imperialism, as Lenin and other pointed out already long ago. “Another thing should not be forgotten (…) namely, that imperialism is the exploitation of hundreds of millions in the dependent nations by a handful of very rich nations. Hence, the possibility of full democracy inside the richest nation with its continued domination over dependent nations. That was the state of things in ancient Greece on the basis of slavery. That is how things now stand with New Zealand and Britain.[8]

Another important factor contributing to Europe’s wealth is migration. Western Europe faces the problem of an overaging and shrinking population. Without the influx of large numbers of young migrants, the continent would have faced decline and loss of wealth already long ago. Such layer of migrants is an important sector of the working class in imperialist countries. They lack many democratic rights and face super-exploitation as cheap labour force. [9]

Hence, the goal of the EU and its collaboration with General Sisi is not to stop migration as such but rather to control the flows. Europe’s authorities want to make sure that only those enter the fortress who are sufficiently fit to profitable work under conditions of harsh super-exploitation. General Sisi’s role is to act as a gatekeeper for European imperialism.

For these reasons, Egypt is just one of the countries with which the EU is collaborating in order to control migration. Four other North African countries are also recipients of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which since its launch in November 2015 has invested €900 million into more than 40 projects to limit migration flows from the Sahel region. [10]


Towards a new upswing of the Arab Revolution?


Imperialist Europe needs dictators like General Sisi not only as gatekeepers to control migration. Such regimes are also essential in order to safeguard the imperialist order in the volatile region. The Middle East has been shattered since the beginning of the Arab Revolution in 2011. Dictators like Ben Ali, Mubarak or Gaddafi were overthrown, other regimes have been shaken to the very foundations.

Since then, the revolutionary process in the Middle East has experienced a number of serious defeats but also new upswings. Just in the last few months, we have seen the popular uprising in Iran, [11] the beginning of the Third Armed Intifada in Palestine, [12] mass protests in Iraq [13] as well as in Tunisia, [14] etc.

There is no doubt that Europe’s ruling class fears another wave of insurrections of the popular masses which could sweep away their gatekeepers and transform the region in a political volcano.

The RCIT and all authentic revolutionaries stand in unconditional solidarity with the national and democratic liberation struggles in the Middle East. Down with the dictatorships from Teheran, Damascus, Cairo to Tunis!

Likewise, we defend the right of migrants to enter Europe. We oppose all forms of anti-democratic oppression and super-exploitation of migrants. Down with the imperialist fortress EU! For Open Borders!


[1] Aidan Lewis: EU funds border control deal in Egypt with migration via Libya on rise, Reuters, October 31, 2022,; EU & Egypt Sign Agreement to Launch New Border Management Programme, 1 November 2022,; Ahram Online: EU launches 1st phase of €80 mln programme for border management with Egypt, 31 Oct 2022,; Jamal Gawhar: EU to Cooperate with Egypt to Limit Illegal Migration from Libya, 1 November, 2022, All information about the EU-Egypt deal is from these articles if not indicated otherwise.

[2] The RCIT has published a number of pamphlets, statements and articles in the weeks after the military coup in July 2013. See e.g. RCIT: Egypt: Down with the Military Coup d’État! Prepare Mass Resistance! 8.7.2013,; RCIT: Egypt: International Solidarity against the Army Crackdown!, 14.8.2013,; Yossi Schwartz: Egypt: Mobilize Resistance against the reactionary military regime!, 27.7.2013,; Michael Pröbsting: The Military’s Coup d'État in Egypt: Assessment and Tactics, 17.7.2013,; see by the same author the pamphlet: The Coup d’État in Egypt and the Bankruptcy of the Left’s “Army Socialism”, August 2013,

[3] See e.g. Egypt: Rally on the 9th Anniversary of the Rabaa Massacre. Report (with Photos and Videos) from a Rally in Vienna on 13 August 2022,

[4] Thaer Mansour: Egypt had at least 60,000 political prisoners since Sisi took power, 19 July 2022,

[5] Michael Pröbsting: Do You Know the latest Joke? The EU and Egypt’s General Sisi jointly fight against … “Terrorism”! 26 January 2022,; by the same author: EU Leaders Praise Egypt’s Military Dictatorship, 21.09.2018,

[6] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Egypt: General Sisi and his French Partner in Crime. Imperialist France knowingly aided the Egypt military in killing tens of thousands of civilians, 27 November 2021,

[7] See on this e.g. the book by Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, 2013,

[8] V. I. Lenin: Remarks on an Article about Maximalism (1916), in: LCW Vol. 41, p. 385

[9] See on this Michael Pröbsting: Migration and Super-exploitation: Marxist Theory and the Role of Migration in the present Period of Capitalist Decay, in: Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory has in its latest issue (Volume 43, Issue 3-4, 2015),; see also by the same author: The Great Robbery of the South, chapter 6 and 8; Marxismus, Migration und revolutionäre Integration (a German-language pamphlet published in 2010),

[10] InfoMigrants: EU and Egypt sign agreement to control migration flows, 31/10/2022,

[12] See on this e.g. Yossi Schwartz: The struggle in Nablus, 26.10.2022,

[13] See on this e.g. Yossi Schwartz: The Sociopolitical Crisis of Iraq, 2.9.2022,

[14] See on this e.g. Yossi Schwartz: The Arab Revolution is knocking on the doors of the states in the Middle East – the new struggles in Tunisia, 20.10.2022,