EU official: Yeah, Egypt really needs some more financial aid

Wait a tick — I thought Europe was supposed to be broke? Where are they getting the cash for all of these bailouts and foreign aid? Via Reuters:

Egypt is likely to need more than $10 billion in external financing to help revive its economy, battered after a revolt that toppled the country’s authoritarian government last year, a senior EU official said on Wednesday.

The European Union and other institutions and countries are considering financial support for Egypt in addition to a $4.8 billion loan that Cairo has requested from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. …

Egypt’s future is important for the 27-member bloc, which sees the development of Arab Spring countries as an economic opportunity, but also fears the possibility of anti-European governments on the other side of the Mediterranean.

Last year, the EU introduced a “more for more” policy under which it links economic aid to progress in civil rights and democracy.

Er… I mean, I’m all for making investments where you see an opportunity for commercial development and can anticipate a mutually-beneficial return, but… Egypt’s president is headed to Brussels to talk about this tomorrow — just two days after a mass display of anti-Western hysteria. The stability of the region, their propensities for economic growth, their reliability as a friend and commercial partner, whether or not they really deserve to be given such financial boosts… These are all tricky questions (Egypt, for its part, seems to feel more receptive to Europe’s assistance than ours). That “more for more” policy seems more than a little odd to me — I do think encouraging economic growth and free trade is a great path for peace, but just throwing money at the problem isn’t necessarily going to solve it. The United States has been doling out foreign aid to a bunch of countries for years on end, but strangely, not all of them seem to feel all that ingratiated towards us. We’re currently giving Egypt more than $1 billion in aid, but maybe we need to reexamine that — as some House conservatives proposed today.

A group of House conservatives is calling for foreign aid to Libya and Egypt to be stripped from a six-month federal funding bill set for a vote on Thursday. …

β€œIt would show a tremendous amount of leadership from this administration, in light of the recent developments, if the president were to come back and demand that the amount of money that is in the [continuing resolution] for Libya and Egypt be stripped. That would be tremendous leadership,” Landry said.

Say, wouldn’t it have been nice to hear the media question our presidential candidates a little more about this and a little less about whether or not Mitt Romney is running the most gaffe-tastic campaign, evah?