The Euro-Gulf Monitor

11 - 17 November 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Bahrain held its 6th parliamentary elections.

  2. European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, travelled to Bahrain to address the IISS Manama Dialogue.

  3. Leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UAE attended the G20 Summit in Bali. India announced it will invite Oman and the UAE as guests to the next G20 Summit.

  4. Oman launched 10 national projects worth over €1.8 billion (EUR).

  5. The EU and Kuwait discussed visa-free status and cooperation in global security.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Saturday, 12 November—Bahrain held its 6th elections to elect 40 members of the Council of Representatives and 30 to the Municipal Councils, for the next 4 years. The elections recorded a 73% turnout, the largest in the Kingdom’s electoral history, with 336 candidates running, including 74 women. Six candidates, including one woman, won seats in the first round, while the remaining seats will be filled after the second electoral round on 19 November.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 14 November—Kuwait held its first money and technology-focused event, the MoneyTech Summit. The event hosted local startups and explored investment opportunities for cross-border money technology joint firms in the region. The summit came as part of the county’s bid to expand investment opportunities in the FinTech, digital banking and Islamic banking sectors and to digitalise its economy.

Sultanate of Oman

Saturday, 12 November—The Oman Investment Authority (OIA) launched 10 national projects worth over €1.8 billion (EUR), which will cover the sectors of energy, food security, chemicals and construction. The projects are part of Oman’s Vision 2040 and seek to boost the Sultanate’s economy by attracting investment, localising expertise as well as establishing a competitive business culture.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 16 November—QatarEnergy and US-petrochemical firm, Chevron Phillips Chemical, agreed to jointly establish an €8.5 billion (EUR) plastics plant in Texas, Doha’s largest investment in a petrochemical project in history. The plant, which will be operational by 2026, will also be the largest integrated petrochemical complex in the world.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Thursday, 17 November—Saudi Arabia and South Korea signed €30 billion (EUR) worth of investment agreements in the sectors of energy, hydrogen, chemicals, defence, infrastructure and construction. The deals were inked during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, to Seoul, where he met with South Korean President, Yoon Suk-yeol. The agreements include a €7 billion (EUR) investment in South Korea’s petrochemical sector by Saudi Aramco and the establishment of seven specialised funds by the Saudi Venture Capital Company.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 16 November—The UAE launched the first Global Media Congress (GMC), a three-day event aimed at showcasing media technologies and discussing digital communication, innovation and the future of the global media industry. The GMC gathered over 1,200 international media experts and journalists, who debated ideas and solutions for the challenges faced by the sector.

EU Corner

Wednesday, 16 November—The EU Commissioner Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, travelled to Kuwait. He met with Foreign Minister, Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Talal Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, to discuss the EU-Kuwaiti collaboration in international institutions, global security and the Schengen visa-free travel status for Kuwaiti nationals, among others.

 

Thursday, 17 November—European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, travelled to Manama, where she will deliver the keynote address at the 18th IISS Manama Dialogue, to be held on 18-20 November. The Commission President met with Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, discussing EU-Gulf cooperation in geopolitical issues, enhancing trade relations and the global green energy transition.

Key Official Visits

Monday, 14 November—The 17th G20 Summit took place in Bali, Indonesia, with international leaders discussing the repercussions of the Ukrainian conflict on energy and food security as well as on the global economy. Participants included US President, Joe Biden, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. The UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, participated as a guest. On the sidelines of the event, the Saudi leader held separate meetings with his Turkish, British and Emirati counterparts, as well as with Director General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva. Following the event, India, which is taking over the G20 presidency for 2023, announced it will invite Oman and the UAE as guest countries for the next summit.

 

Tuesday, 15 November—China’s Special Envoy for the Middle East, Zhai Jun, toured Oman and Kuwait. In Muscat, the Chinese Envoy met with Omani Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry for Diplomatic Affairs, Khalifa Ali Al-Harthy, while in Kuwait he met with Foreign Minister, Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The talks focused on Gulf-Chinese and Arab-Chinese diplomatic relations as well as opportunities for boosting cooperation in economy, investment and trade.

 

Wednesday, 16 November—Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, travelled to Damascus, for a meeting with Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad. They discussed Syrian-Omani cooperation in ensuring regional stability and in fighting terrorism, with President Assad highlighting Oman’s policy of mediation in regional disputes and calling for more dialogue among Arab countries.

 

Wednesday, 16 November—Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Environment and Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, met with Saudi Arabia’s Climate Envoy and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, on the sidelines of the COP27 Summit in Egypt. They discussed collaboration in driving the Gulf’s green energy transition, Manama’s pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2060 and the Saudi initiatives to tackle climate change presented during the summit.