The Euro-Gulf Monitor

26 August - 1 September 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Kuwait will hold national parliamentary elections on 29 September.

  2. The UAE Hope Probe observed a new type of proton aurora around Mars.

  3. Qatar Tourism opened its first representative office in Tehran.

  4. Cristian Tudor began his mandate as EU’s first resident Ambassador to Qatar.

  5. Bahrain and France reviewed cooperation in countering terrorism and extremism.

  1. US President, Joe Biden, concluded his first tour of the Middle East.

  2. Kuwait appointed its fourth Prime Minister since 2020.

  3. The Presidents of the UAE and France met in Paris to discuss expanding energy cooperation.

  4. Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding Co invested €229 million in a major European fund manager.

  5. The EU called on the warring parties in Yemen to agree on a truce extension.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Monday, 26 August–Bahrain announced it will host the annual Arab Space Cooperation Summit for the first time on 8 November, on the sidelines of the Bahrain International Airshow. The Summit will gather sector representatives from a number of countries including Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The event will aim to bolster collaboration among national space agencies in the region and increase investments in the space sector.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 26 August–Kuwait announced it will hold national parliamentary elections on 29 September. The country’s Crown Prince, Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, dissolved the parliament in early August in a bid to solve the year-long political standoff between the government and the opposition. Kuwaiti nationals will elect 50 new representatives to the Assembly, with a number of new electoral districts being outlined in the elections’ decree.

Sultanate of Oman

Wednesday, 31 August–Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism signed nine land lease agreements, in a bid to attract 3 billion rials (OMR) of private investments in the tourism sector. The projects are distributed in different governorates and involve various hotels and resorts, in an effort to empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 31 August–The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) announced the implementation of the Doha Flight Information Region (FIR) with those of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The agreements signed among the parties will lead to the opening of new air routes, and will increase the capacity of the aircraft holding area and search and rescue area.

 

Wednesday, 31 August–Qatar Tourism opened its first representative office in Tehran, bringing the number of international offices to 13. The office will cover a wide range of marketing initiatives, such as tour operator partnerships, destination training for travel agents, and media visits, and will boost Qatar-Iran bilateral trade while improving cultural and touristic exchanges. 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Friday, 26 August–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, launched the ‘Rua Al Madinah’ project, a mega real estate plan in the city of Medina that seeks to raise the hosting capacity of Umrah pilgrims to 30 million by 2030. The project will span across 1.5 km2 and include almost 50,000 new accommodations, boosting Medina’s cultural heritage and its travel sector.

 

Thursday, 1 September–The British steelmaker, JO Steel Holding PLC, announced it will invest €865 million (EUR) to build a steel mill within Saudi Arabia’s Ras Al-Khair Industrial City. The new manufacturing plant will produce about 1.8 million tons of steel annually, and its development is part of Saudi Arabia’s aim to expand its manufacturing sector within the Saudi Vision 2030’s wider goals.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 31 August–The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) “Hope Probe” reported the observation of a new type of proton aurora around Mars. The latest findings, combined with input from Nasa’s Maven spacecraft, will help scientists gain new insights into the planet’s atmosphere.

 

Wednesday, 31 August–The UAE announced that people attending the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and possessing the Hayya Fan ID card will be granted multiple entry visas. The announcement came days after Saudi Arabia stated it will issue a 60-day entry visa for all Hayya Fan ID holders, in an effort to capitalise on the almost two million international visitors flying to the region for the FIFA World Cup.

The EU Corner 

Thursday, 1 September–The European Union (EU) diplomat Cristian Tudor, former EU Ambassador to Kuwait and Qatar, began his mandate in Qatar, becoming the first EU resident Ambassador in Doha. He was received by the Chief of Protocol of the Qatari Foreign Ministry, Ibrahim Fakhro, who expressed his country’s willingness to deepen cooperation with Europe.

Key official visits

Thursday, 25 August–The UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, travelled to Athens, where he met with Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. They reviewed cooperation in food security, renewable energy, economy and development, particularly through bolstering private joint ventures between the two states. The talks also covered developments in Yemen as well as the COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference, which will be held in the Emirates in 2023, and bilateral strategic cooperation in ensuring international security.

 

Tuesday, 30 August–Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa travelled to Paris, where he was received by French President, Emmanuel Macron. The two leaders reviewed French-Bahraini partnership countering terrorism and extremism, with King Hamad highlighting France’s role in ensuring global security. They also discussed EU-Gulf cooperation in tackling climate change and ways to expand collaboration in economy, trade, investment, culture and tourism.

 

Wednesday, 31 August–Qatar’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with Kazakhstan’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, in Nur-Sultan. They discussed Qatari-Kazakh economic cooperation and opportunities for joint investments, as well as the upcoming meeting of GCC-Central Asian states’ Foreign ministers, which will be held in Riyadh in late September.