The European Neighbourhood Policy has without a doubt emphasized the importance of good governance, which became a priority objective in the 2007-2013 EU-Egypt country strategy paper. Within this framework, the EU has conditioned its aid on Egypt’s commitment to reforms. However, in practice, the “softly softly” approach that has seen the EU be too flexible on tying its aid to reforms in the face of the Egyptian resistance to conditionality, has proven to be an extremely opaque and ineffective process. While corruption has been a major governance challenge for Egypt, the EU – only directly addressing the issue in a small-scale decentralized project – did not implement any specific anti-corruption mechanism for oversight or monitoring despite having over 60 per cent of its funds channelled to Egypt’s national treasury through sector budget support. The 2011 Egyptian revolution incontestably led the EU to reflect upon its policies and to pledge stronger commitment to the promotion of good governance and the fight against corruption. But in the highly volatile political environment that followed, the EU’s focus on refining its policy instruments has prevented it from acting in a timely fashion and, once again, the implementation of reforms has lagged far behind Brussels’ outstanding declarations. As the present paper suggests, the EU’s approach has been, in essence, heavily bureaucratic and far less strategic. One fair assumption regarding the EU’s lack of enthusiasm in genuinely addressing corruption – and good governance – would be that the issue has never truly impacted on the core of EU–Egypt relations, which have remained grounded on economic, stability and security concerns.