The Euro-Gulf Monitor

17 - 23 June 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, toured Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.

  2. The UK and the Gulf held free trade agreement talks.

  3. Kuwait’s Crown Prince dissolved the Parliament and called for early elections.

  4. The Council of the EU approved the Conclusions on the Strategic Partnership with the Gulf.

  5. Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan held a trilateral summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.

ولي عهد السعودية، محمد بن سامان، قام بجولة في مصر، تركيا والأردن

 المملكة المتحدة والخليجية يعقدان محادثات اتفاقية تجارة حرة

 وحل ولي عهد الكويت مجلس النواب ودعا إلى إجراء انتخابات مبكرة

 مجلس الاتحاد الأوروبي يوافق على الاستنتاجات الخاصة بالشراكة الاستراتيجية مع دول الخليج

عقدت البحرين ومصر والأردن قمة ثلاثية في شرم الشيخ

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Tuesday, 21 June–The Bahrain-based green energy company, Pavillion Renewables Group, announced it will invest over €140 million (EUR) in the Kingdom to develop sustainable energy technologies over the next 18 months.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 22 June–Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, decreed the dissolution of the Parliament and called for early elections. The move came as a result of more than a one year-long parliamentary standoff between the government and the opposition over allegations of corruption and economic mismanagement.

Sultanate of Oman

Friday, 17 June–Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik Al-Said ordered a government reshuffle, which included the appointment of new Ministers of Energy and Minerals, Religious Affairs, and Health, and the establishment of a Higher Justice Council. Salem Al-Oufi was appointed as the country’s new Energy Minister.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 22 June–Doha hosted the 2022 Qatar Economic Forum between 20 and 22 June. The event focused on the global food and energy crises caused by the Ukrainian conflict, economic diversification and post-pandemic economic recovery. The forum gathered over 500 attendees and 75 speakers, including US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, Egypt’s Minister of Finance, Mohamed Ahmed Maait, and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 22 June–Saudi Aramco and the Norwegian industrial software firm, Cognite, signed a deal to establish a joint venture to boost digitalisation in Saudi Arabia. The new firm will deliver cloud and industrial solutions to public and private firms. The Kingdom also launched the FinTech Strategy Implementation Plan, which seeks to enhance the country’s digital economy and develop its e-government services, while also aiming to increase digital transactions to 70% by 2025.

United Arab Emirates

Monday, 20 June–The Emirates will reportedly build a new Red Sea port in Sudan as part of a wider €5.6 billion (EUR) investment plan. The project includes the establishment of a free trade zone, an agricultural project and a €280 million (EUR) deposit to Sudan’s Central Bank.

 

Wednesday, 22 June–The Spanish Industrial Group, Tubacex, was awarded a ten-year €1 billion (EUR) worth contract by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). The deal includes the supply of gas extraction solutions as well as a manufacturing plant in Abu Dhabi, which will be operational from 2024.

The EU Corner

Sunday, 19 June‒The Ambassadors of the European Union (EU) countries to Saudi Arabia met at the French Residence in Riyadh, on the occasion of the end of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The event, organised by the Head of the EU Mission to Riyadh Patrick Simonnet and hosted by the French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ludovic Pouille, meant to review relations between Europe and the Gulf. 

 

Monday, 20 June‒The Council of the European Union approved the Conclusions on the Strategic Partnership with the Gulf, a document providing an operational roadmap to enhance Euro-Gulf cooperation in several fields, including climate change, energy, human rights, education and research, women’s empowerment, and sustainable development. The Council Conclusions, along with the Joint Communication by the EU Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security, Josep Borrell, address a series of international and regional challenges to be confronted, and promote institutional cooperation.

 

Monday, 20 June‒The President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC), Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, and the Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, met to review EU-Saudi cooperation in the field of human rights protection. The meeting also aimed to explore ways to pursue sustainable development in accordance with Saudi Vision 2030.

 

Wednesday, 22 June‒The Saudi Ministry of Investment, led by Minister Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, presented the new Saudi Investment Law at a business breakfast organised by the European Union (EU). The Saudi Investment Law complies with the Kingdom Vision 2030.

 

Wednesday, 22 June‒The Deputy Secretary General and Political Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, and the Yemeni Foreign Minister, Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak, discussed the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Deputy Secretary General Mora confirmed the EU commitment to a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and expressed its full support to the United Nations’ efforts in the peace process. 

Key Official Visits

Sunday, 19 June–Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa travelled to Sharm El-Sheikh to participate in a trilateral meeting with Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. The three leaders discussed the energy and food crises, the conflict in Ukraine, Yemen, Iran’s nuclear file as well as the upcoming visit of US President, Joe Biden, to the region.

 

Sunday, 19 June–Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, travelled to Abu Dhabi, where he was received by the UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. They discussed cooperation in development and security, with the Emirati President stressing the country’s support to the Somali government and to its efforts to establish stability in the country.

 

Tuesday, 21 June—UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, received Romania’s Prime Minister, Nicolae Ciuca, in Abu Dhabi. They discussed bilateral cooperation in trade, investment and agriculture.

 

Wednesday, 22 June–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, visited Egypt, Jordan and Turkey to discuss cooperation and the upcoming Summit with US President. In Cairo, he met with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, to discuss bilateral coordination on global security and regional issues. On the occasion, Saudi Arabia and Egypt signed 14 deals worth over €7.7 billion (EUR) in the fields of health, renewable energy and technology. In Ankara, the Saudi Crown Prince met with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They highlighted their willingness to start a new phase in Saudi-Turkish relations and discussed cooperation in trade, energy and investment. In Amman, the Crown Prince met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, reaffirming collaboration in energy, regional security and economy.

 

Wednesday, 22 June–The UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries held talks over a free trade agreement (FTA), in Riyadh. British Trade Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, travelled to Riyadh, meeting with GCC Secretary General, Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, and her counterparts from the six Gulf states. The agreement is expected to increase investments in the sectors of technology, food, cyber, education and sustainable innovation. On the same day, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources travelled to London in order to promote Saudi-British cooperation in the mineral sector.