Search form

Last updated: 1 min ago

You are here

Saudi Arabia

In peace there can be prosperity and sustainable future — EU commissioner

Acting Governor of SAGIA Prince Saud bin Khaled Al-Faisal speaks at the Second EU-GCC Business Forum in Riyadh on Monday. EU Commissioner Violetta Bulc is seated left. (AN photo)
RIYADH: EU Commissioner Violetta Bulc said here Monday that old recurring conflicts need continuous attention, and only in peace can there be prosperity and a sustainable future.
Bulc was speaking at the inauguration of the Second EU-GCC Business Forum, PPP and Infrastructure Investment Opportunities in the GCC.
Bulc and acting Governor of SAGIA Prince Saud bin Khaled Al-Faisal jointly opened the forum at the Narcissus Hotel in the capital.
“Political risks are significant in many parts of the world; so are the needs to stand up and support peaceful solutions,” she said, pointing out that these elements offer a major opportunity for further development and wider cooperation between the EU and GCC countries. “More than ever, we need to act together to promote sound economic policies and close cooperation between public and private actors, which is one of the key topics of today’s business forum.
“We are in a period of rapid changes globally. We can observe that while global economic growth has picked up in the past 6 months, it remains quite moderate and fragile, with major differences globally and important downside risks. Some factors which helped support the recent global economic recovery, such as low interest rates, low inflation, and low commodity prices, may be changing,” she said.
The outcome of the US presidential election and the uncertainties surrounding the policy stance of the future US administration in key policy areas adds to global economic and political uncertainty, she added.
“More divergent global monetary policies could also entail renewed financial market volatility going forward. Moreover, the policies of free trade which so much supported the global economic growth of the last decades are being challenged by some more inward-looking and protectionist national views. To sustain the global recovery, free-trade is crucial,” she concluded.
In his speech, Prince Saud said Saudi Vision 2030 has opened up an array of investment opportunities with the active participation of the public and private sectors. The prince called upon investors in the EU and the GCC to make use of the attractive opportunities available in the Kingdom that would provide mutual benefits.
The forum was a continuation of the first EU-GCC Business Forum held in Brussels last May. Its focus was on the most crucial areas of economic development: transport, infrastructure, and sustainable urban development.
The EU enjoys long-established relationships with Saudi Arabia and the other GCC states on a range of issues within the framework of the EU-GCC Cooperation Agreement of 1985.
Trade volumes between the two regions have almost doubled during the past decade, and stood at slightly more than 155 billion euros ($164 billion) in 2015.
The GCC countries together are the EU’s fourth largest export market, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia alone is Europe’s 12th largest export market. The EU is the first trading partner of the Kingdom (and the GCC).
Economic and trade matters have, therefore, been at the forefront of EU-GCC cooperation since its inception.
With the economic changes in the Gulf region, and the most recently announced Saudi Vision 2030 as well as the corresponding National Transformation Plan, opportunities for both bilateral cooperation and increased trade and investment were underlined at the forum.
In 2014, the European Union launched the EU-GCC Trade and Business Cooperation Facility, a three-year project aimed at strengthening trade, investment, and business cooperation between the two blocs through business networks, mutual understanding and dialogue.
The project facilitates various activities in GCC and EU cities, including high-level annual business forums, policy working groups and round tables aimed at EU and GCC business communities, policy makers, opinion leaders and the media.
The project is managed by a consortium of leading EU and GCC private sector institutions with a total membership base of 2.5 million companies.
The partners of the project are the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI), the Federation of GCC Chambers (FGCCC), and BUSINESSEUROPE.

MORE FROM Saudi Arabia