Riyadh, 10 May 2023 (TDI): On the occasion of Europe Day, the EU delegation in Saudi Arabia held a celebration in Riyadh, where the EU ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, highlighted the significance of developing robust partnerships and cooperation with global allies.
Simonnet commemorated the enduring relationships with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman, which have become increasingly stronger over time. His message was delivered on the occasion of Europe Day, celebrated on May 9 in all EU member states to commemorate the founding date of May 9, 1950.
The day aims to strengthen the sense of European identity and promote peace and mutual understanding between people. The EU delegation and its member states in Riyadh have organized a series of month-long cultural events to mark the occasion.
The EU’s objectives include promoting political and security cooperation and fostering mutual trade and investment. It also includes collaboration on energy and climate, facilitating more travel, and exchanges in education, and culture between Europe and the Gulf region.
The EU and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed close bilateral relations for several decades in strategic areas and sectors, including trade and investment, culture, and politics. The EU is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest trading partner, accounting for 14.8 percent of the Kingdom’s trade. Saudi Arabia is the EU’s 17th-largest trading partner for goods, with total trade of €40 billion ($43.8 billion).
Additionally, an EU-Gulf Cooperation Council dialogue initiative on economic diversification was launched in 2018. The objective is to promote trade, investment, and economic affairs through related policy analysis, dialogue, and cooperation between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at regional and national levels. This initiative seeks to support policy dialogue, organize business forums, and exchange technical expertise to assist the Kingdom in its economic diversification strategy integrated into Vision 2030.
To promote cultural diversity, youth creativity, exchange, and multiculturalism, the EU proposes a range of cultural activities, including the organization of the European Food Festival for the first time by the EU Delegation in Riyadh in cooperation with the embassies of the EU member states, the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission, and the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh.
Furthermore, the EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network was established in 2010 and is funded by the EU to foster closer cooperation between the EU and GCC countries on clean energy policies and technologies. The network has proved to be an excellent tool to strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Saudi Arabia in energy matters.