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The Euro-Gulf Monitor

16 - 22 December 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. EU and GCC representatives attended the Baghdad
    Conference for Cooperation and Partnership in Jordan.

  2. MEPs met with GCC and Saudi officials in Riyadh.

  3. Bahrain launched a four-year roadmap for economic recovery and development.

  4. Kuwait inaugurated its fifth liquefied gas pipeline, worth €1.3 billion (EUR).

  5. The UAE was selected to host the 2024 WTO Summit.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Wednesday, 21 December—Bahrain’s Cabinet presented the 2023-2026 Government Action Plan to the Parliament, titled ‘From Recovery to Sustainable Development’. The roadmap focuses on three priorities – security, economic recovery and competitive government services – and has 10 goals, including enhancing the role of Bahraini women in national economy, building public-private partnerships and tackling climate change. The plan is part of the Kingdom’s wider Economic Vision 2030 strategy.

State of Kuwait
Tuesday, 20 December—The Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) inaugurated its fifth liquefied gas pipeline at the Al-Ahmadi terminal, increasing its output capacity by 30% (22.7 million cubic metres per day). The pipeline cost about €1.3 billion (EUR).

Sultanate of Oman
Tuesday, 20 December—The state-owned wealth fund, the Oman Investment Authority (OIA), announced it will invest €4.6 billion (EUR) in various projects in 2023. It will include 65 investment projects in a variety of sectors, such as energy, food, mining and logistics, as well as investments in the UK and US technology sector.

State of Qatar
Wednesday, 21 December—The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected Qatar as a member of the Organisational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission for 2023-2024. Qatar, nominated for the first time, will represent the Asia and Pacific Group and will support efforts of implementing preventive diplomacy to resolve regional and international disputes.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 18 December—Saudi Aramco signed a deal with China Petroleum and Sinopec to build a a refinery with a capacity of producing 320,000 barrels per day and a petrochemical plant able to produce 1.5 million tonnes per year in China. The complex will be operational by 2025, and is part of Aramco’s bid to quadruple its conversion of crude into chemicals by 2030. 

United Arab Emirates
Monday, 19 December—The UAE was selected to host the next World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting in Abu Dhabi in February 2024. The summit takes place every two years gathering trade ministers and representatives from the WTO’s 164 member states, and aims to build international partnerships for economy, trade and development. The last time the event was held in the Gulf was in 2001, in Qatar.


EU Corner


Tuesday, 20 December—The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, held separate meetings with Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Hamad Hamood Al-Busaidi, and Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, in Amman. The EU and the Omani officials discussed developments in JCPOA negotiations, EU-Omani cooperation and the EU’s intention to open a diplomatic mission in Muscat in 2023. Borrell and the Iranian Foreign Minister discussed the deteriorating EU-Iranian relations, Iran’s nuclear file, and EU sanctions on Tehran over human rights issues. The meetings were held on the sidelines of the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership.


Tuesday, 20 December—A delegation from the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) travelled to Saudi Arabia. The mission was headed by AFET’s Chair, David McAllister, and included MEPs Hannah Neumann, Jordi Solé, and Jean-Lin Lacapelle. The EU representatives held meetings with GCC Assistant Secretary-General for Political and Negotiation Affairs, Abdel Aziz Hamad Aluwaisheg, and Saudi Arabia’s officials, notably Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Walid Al-Khureiji, and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Climate Envoy, Adel Al-Jubeir. The talks focused on the Kingdom’s social and economic transformation, the EU’s strategic partnership with the GCC, Iranian influence in the region as well as the possibility of negotiating a free trade agreement.


Key Official Visits


Thursday, 15 December—Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Hamad Hamood Al-Busaidi, travelled to Budapest, meeting with his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto. They discussed opportunities to buy Omani liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well as collaboration in green hydrogen production, trade and economic diversification.

Friday, 16 December—The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, travelled to Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland, he met with Irish Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, to discuss cooperation in the fields of logistics, transport, renewable energy, FinTech, and trade. In Edinburgh, the Emirati representative met with Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Angus Robertson, to explore opportunities for joint renewable energy projects.

Monday, 19 December—Canada’s Defence Minister, Anita Anand, travelled to Kuwait for a meeting with her Kuwaiti counterpart, Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. They discussed Canadian-Kuwaiti cooperation in countering terrorism and regional security, with Minister Anand welcoming Kuwait’s role in facilitating the evacuation of Canadian nationals from Afghanistan.

Tuesday, 20 December—The Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership on Iraq’s Security and Stability took place in Jordan. The event was chaired by Jordan’s king, Abdullah II, and was attended by French President, Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emirati Vice President and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Kuwaiti Prime Minister, Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell, as well as Foreign Ministers of Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. The Final Declaration of the meeting underlined the importance of cooperation between the GCC and Iraq, particularly in the fields of economy, electricity, energy, transports and counterterrorism.

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