Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 - 28 of Kislev, 5782
EU

EU plans a new partnership with the Gulf for 2022

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EU High Representative Josep Borrell said that it was clear from his recent visit to Gulf states (Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) that they would like a greater presence from the European Union in the region. Today (18 December) foreign ministers agreed that the EU should establish a delegation in Qatar, writes Catherine Feore in EU Reporter. 

Borrell also announced that there would be an EU Gulf Cooperation Council in early 2022 year and a Joint Communication on a “Partnership with the Gulf” should be adopted in the first quarter of 2022.

The gulf states often play a key role in foreign policy issues, most notably there relations with the Taliban. Borrell said at the press conference: “If we want to engage with Afghanistan, we better go to Qatar.”

“Qatar is the country with the highest revenue per head in the world”, Borrell said and the EU could accompany them in building confidence and contributing to the global agenda on a wide range of issues, including climate and digitization.

On the region’s more troubling human rights record, Borrell said this was an area where we could disagree, but where the EU could build a dialogue, giving the example of Saudi Arabia where a human rights dialogue took place for the first time ever.

Background

The European External Action service report that the political and security situation in the Gulf has shown some signs of improvement over the last twelve months, but tensions remain. At the same time, countries in the region have been raising their political and security profiles in the EU neighbourhood, while the EU has been enhancing its diplomatic presence in the region and its institutional engagement with these countries.

The Gulf states are increasingly interested in close co-operation with the EU on global issues and regional security. Ministers are expected to discuss ways to further EU engagement with the region, with a particular focus on what the EU can do to help Gulf countries build confidence regionally, in particular as regards the process launched by the Baghdad Conference on Cooperation and Partnership (28 August 2021).

The EU is also keen to build a closer partnership between the EU and Gulf countries to further the EU’s global agenda (green transition/climate change, diversification away from hydrocarbons to fighting desertification and water resource management, connectivity, digital economy, the fight against pandemics or support to multilateralism and effective response to growing humanitarian needs)

 

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