Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Sunday, Oct 01, 2023

EU delegation celebrates Europe Day in Saudi Arabia with fervor

The EU and the Gulf states are on course for stronger relations as the trading body in Saudi Arabia celebrates one more year of successful cooperation, said Patrick Simonnet, the EU ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Simonnet said in a video message: “On behalf of the EU I would like to extend warm greetings on the occasion of Europe Day.

“As we celebrate the values of peace, democracy and unity that binds us together in Europe, we also recognize the importance of fostering strong partnership and cooperation with our global friends, partners and allies. Today we also celebrate one more year of successful cooperation in building ties with the Gulf.

“In this regard we appreciate the long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman, which have grown stronger over the years. through mutual respect and shared interest.

“To build on this we aim to further enhance political and security cooperation, mutual trade and investment, cooperation on energy and climate, and increased traveling and exchanges in education and culture between Europe and the Gulf.

“Today also marks the start of a series of month-long cultural events organized by the EU delegation and our member states in Riyadh.”

Europe Day is celebrated on May 9 in all EU member states to commemorate the founding date of May 9, 1950, when French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented his proposal for a European organization, a new form of political cooperation and a trade group that now includes 448 million people speaking 24 languages.

This agreement, according to Schuman, was intended to make war between European nations unthinkable. The “Schuman Declaration” is therefore considered to be the birth certificate of the EU.

The day and month aim to strengthen further the sense of European identity. It symbolizes the will to overcome conflicts, promote peace and encourage solidarity and mutual understanding between people.

The EU delegation was officially created in 2004. With the Treaty of Lisbon and the establishment of a unified diplomatic service, it is now an embassy, a representative of the EU officially speaking on behalf of the member states when unanimous agreements in policy areas are signed.

This allows the EU’s official representative to discuss and deal mainly with political relations, economic and trade cooperation, energy, climate change, cultural cooperation, security, space, and above all to be a focal point for consular matters.

The EU and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed very close bilateral relations for several decades in strategic areas and sectors, including trade and investment, culture and politics.

The EU is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest trading partner, accounting for 14.8 percent of the Kingdom’s trade (China is the largest with 18.7 percent). Saudi Arabia is the EU’s 17th-largest trading partner for goods, with total trade of €40 billion ($43.8 billion).

The EU is also the world’s largest single market, a leader in research and innovation, a major player in security, and a key player on global challenges such as climate change and digitization.

An EU-Gulf Cooperation Council dialogue initiative on economic diversification was launched in 2018. The objective is to promote trade, investment and economic affairs through related policy analysis, dialogue and cooperation between the EU and the GCC at regional and national levels.

This initiative seeks to support policy dialogue, organize business forums and exchange technical expertise to assist the Kingdom in its economic diversification strategy integrated in Vision 2030.

In order to promote cultural diversity, youth creativity, exchange and multiculturalism, the EU proposes, as it does every year, a varied and attractive range of cultural activities.

One example is the organization, for the first time, of the European Food Festival by the EU Delegation in Riyadh, in cooperation with the embassies of the EU member states, the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission and the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh.

In order to create a cross-cultural interaction in the Gulf region, the EU strategy for the Gulf aims at closer cultural cooperation, youth and student mobility, as well as strengthening and broadening the cooperation and exchanges in higher education.

The EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network was established in 2010 and is funded by the EU to foster closer cooperation between the EU and GCC countries on clean energy policies and technologies. The network has proved to be an excellent tool to strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Saudi Arabia in energy matters.

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