The Euro-Gulf Monitor

30 September - 6 October 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Oman established a joint maritime security centre with Iran and Pakistan.

  2. Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani travelled to the Czech Republic.

  3. Bahrain announced a new labour reform to expand protection of workers’ rights.

  4. Saudi Arabia will host the 2029 Asian Winter Games in NEOM.

  5. Kuwait announced the formation of a new government after parliamentary elections.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Wednesday, 5 October–Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, announced a labor reform package that is set to replace the Kingdom’s Flexi Permits system, which allows expats to work in Bahrain for any non-specialised job and any number of employers. The new reform will simplify work registration procedures, enhance payment flexibility and ensure Labour Market Regulatory Authority representation for any labour dispute in a bid to safeguard the rights of workers.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 5 October—Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, approved the new Cabinet following the national parliamentary elections, reappointing Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah as Prime Minister. The main Cabinet changes include the appointment of Hussein Ismail as Minister of Oil, and Abdullah Ali Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah as Minister of Defence.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 3 October—Oman, Iran, and Pakistan announced they will establish a joint Maritime Security Centre that will focus on the Indian Ocean. The agreement was made during the 17th annual meeting of the Omani-Iranian Military Friendship Joint Committee and seeks to develop military and security cooperation in the region.

State of Qatar

Saturday, 1 October–The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) invested €2.4 billion (EUR) in German energy firm, RWE, to boost its ‘Growing Green’ strategy. The investment enabled RWE’s acquisition of US-based clean energy firm, Con Edison, for €6.8 billion, and follows the German-Qatari deals to expand energy cooperation signed during Germany’s Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, visit to Doha.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Monday, 3 October—The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced it will open a regional office in Riyadh, to enhance collaboration with the Gulf in addressing international crises. The announcement was made by IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, during a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, during which she expressed interest to work with Saudi Arabia on addressing the  growing challenge of food insecurity.

 

Tuesday, 4 October‒Saudi Arabia announced it will host the 2029 Asian Winter Games (AWG) at a mountain resort in NEOM called TROJENA. The project will be completed in 2026 and will include outdoor skiing and a nature reserve. Saudi Arabia will be the first country in the region to host the AWG.

United Arab Emirates

Monday, 3 October—The new UAE visa rules approved in April came into effect, marking the country’s biggest immigration policy reform. The new system includes a standard 60-day entry permit and a five-year, multi-entry tourist visa that will allow visitors to stay in the country for up to 90 days in a row. The UAE will also introduce five-year green visas for workers, and a job exploration entry visa for degree holders that will not require a sponsor in the country.

EU Corner

Wednesday, 5 October—Qatar’s Ministry of Interior inked a deal with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) to cooperate against cross-border organised crime and terrorism. The two sides will establish a framework for exchanging information with EU member law enforcement agencies, and provide specialist knowledge to counter crime threats.

 

Wednesday, 5 October—The EU Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, met for the first time with the President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Hala Al-Tuwaijri, in Riyadh. They discussed the EU-Saudi human rights dialogue and Riyadh’s commitment to enhancing partnership with the Union.

Key Official Visits

Tuesday, 4 October—Jordan’s King Abdullah II travelled to Oman, meeting with Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said. The two leaders discussed the Palestinian file, global security and Omani-Jordanian cooperation in investment and regional stability. The two countries also signed deals to expand partnerships in the sectors of industry, mining, education, innovation and tourism.

 

Tuesday, 4 October—Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad bin Sherida Al-Kaabi, met with British Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Jacob Rees-Mogg, in London. The Qatari Minister also participated in the London Energy Intelligence Forum, announcing that the country will boost its energy exports to Europe to help address the energy crisis.

 

Wednesday, 5 October—Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani visited the Czech Republic for the first time, meeting with Czech President, Milos Zeman. The two countries signed deals on economic cooperation, investment protection, and announced the institution of an inter-governmental commission to facilitate economic, trade and technical cooperation. The Qatari Emir also announced the establishment of a Qatari Embassy in the Czech Republic in the upcoming months. The talks also covered cooperation in gas, defence, space technology and trade.