Gulf hails EU strategic partnership

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RIYADH, May 19: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said on Wednesday it welcomed the approval of a joint proposal on building a “strategic partnership” with the European Union (EU), hailing the move as a measure that would bolster bilateral cooperation. The Gulf Arab bloc is eager to “enhance the strategic partnership” it has forged with the EU, its chief Dr. Nayef Al- Hajraf said in a statement, citing his aspirations for greater bilateral relations. The EU had discussed plans to broaden its cooperation with the GCC, saying on Wednesday it had approved a working plan on the matter, according to its top diplomat Josep Borrell. EU High Representative Josep Borrell and the European Commission, adopted a Joint Communication on “Strategic Partnership with the Gulf” with the aim to broaden and deepen the 27-member European Union (EU)’s cooperation with the 6-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and its Member countries.

Borrell, in a statement, said: “At a time of insecurity and significant challenges to the rules-based international order, aggravated by Russia’s war on Ukraine, the European Union and Gulf countries stand to gain from a stronger and more strategic partnership stretching over a number of key areas.”

“We need to work more closely together on stability in the Gulf and the Middle East, on global security threats; energy security, climate change and the green transition, digitalization, trade and investment. We also need to strengthen contacts between students, researchers, businesses and citizens,” he noted. The European Commission in a press release said strengthened partnership is beneficial both for the EU and for the Gulf partners, with the EU being the world’s largest single market, a leader in research and innovation, an important security actor in the Gulf region and the leading actor on global challenges such as climate change and digitalization.

The Joint Communication addresses a series of key policy areas, presenting concrete proposals for strengthened EU-GCC cooperation on energy, green transition and climate change, trade and economic diversification, regional stability and global security, humanitarian and development challenges, and closer people-to-people contacts. Joining forces to address climate change and harness the opportunities provided by the green transition is paramount and mutually beneficial, it said.

The Gulf region is particularly impacted by climate change and the EU, a pioneer in initiatives for a climate transition, can be a partner in developing the knowhow and expertise to address this challenge, it said. The EU Global Gateway provides a dynamic framework for cooperation with GCC partners to foster sustainable investments in the broader Middle East region as well as in Africa, it noted. GCC countries are dynamic economies and an important gateway between Europe, Asia and Africa. (KUNA)

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