European inclusion under threat warns WEF paper

A report from the World Economic Forum has called for a strengthening of city diplomacy through a network that connects cities in the fight against terrorism, crime and violence. (Reuters)
Updated 19 January 2018
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European inclusion under threat warns WEF paper

LONDON: Europe’s leaders must embrace a bold and innovative program of reform to secure a peaceful, prosperous and stable future, according to a report by the World Economic Forum ahead of its Davos summit next week.

One of the key findings of the WEF paper was that Europeans, especially younger people, believe that a core set of European values, based on inclusion and equality, openness and diversity, and sustainable growth are coming increasingly under threat.

To preserve these values for the future, the paper outlines a number of innovative ideas aimed at addressing the region’s challenges.

These cover five major policy areas: human-centric economy; security and defense; migration and borders; democracy and governance; and energy and sustainability.

“Collectively, these themes cover more than two-thirds of the policy areas where most Europeans say they want greater intervention by the EU,” said the report.

Among other things, it call for a strengthening of city diplomacy through a network that connects cities in the fight against terrorism, crime and violence; a European SecurityForce to augment national defense systems as well as provide new roles such as coast guard and border patrols; and a common digital identity for refugees and asylum seekers to better manage migration
flows and improve integration of immigrants.

A second WEF paper, also released on Friday focusing on startups and corporates aims to help Europe develop more world-class technology companies by providing a blueprint for greater collaboration between the two worlds.


Saudi oil refinery in Gwadar to help Islamabad save $3 billion a year

Updated 1 min 11 sec ago
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Saudi oil refinery in Gwadar to help Islamabad save $3 billion a year

  • The refinery would produce up to 300,000 barrels per day once completed
  • Saudi Arabia is also setting up reservoirs for liquified natural gas in Pakistan, says Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expects to agree a deal to build an oil refinery and petrochemical complex at the Balochistani deep-sea Port of Gwadar, during the first state-level visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The deal will see Pakistan join with Saudi Aramco to build the facility, expected to cost $10 billion.

“We are working on feasibility studies for the establishment of the oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Gwadar, and will be ready to start by early 2020,” Pakistan’s Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan told Arab News on Thursday.

Once established, the project will help the South Asian nation cut its annual crude oil imports by up to $3 billion annually, in addition to creating thousands of job opportunities in the impoverished western province.

The country spends more than $16 billion each year on importing 26 million tons of petroleum products, including 800 million cubic feet of liquified natural gas (LNG) from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf countries.

Khan claimed the refinery would produce up to 300,000 barrels per day once completed.

“The Saudi authorities have asked us to complete all the initial work on the project on a fast track, as they want to set it up as early as possible,” he said.

A Saudi technical team, including Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, has visited Gwadar twice in recent months to examine the site for the refinery, getting briefings from Pakistani officials on security in the area near the border with Iran.

“We will ensure complete security for Saudi investments and people working on the project. A detailed security plan has already been chalked up with help of the security agencies,” Khan added.

Pakistan currently has five oil refineries, but they can only satisfy half of its annual demand. Islamabad and Riyadh have long maintained strong ties, with the latter repeatedly offering the former financial assistance. Last year, the Kingdom guaranteed Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year, and a further loan worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports, to help stave off an economic crisis. The Islamic Republic also received $3 billion from the UAE to protect its foreign reserves.

Khan added that the Pakistani-Arab Refinery Co. (PARCO) was also setting up an oil refinery at Khalifa Point, near the city of Hub in Balochistan. 

“The work on this project is at an advanced stage. Land for it has been acquired and other formalities are being fulfilled,” he said.

Khan hopes the world’s perception of Pakistan will change upon completion of these deals, after years of war in the surrounding region. Exxon Mobil returned to Pakistan last month after 27 years, and started offshore drilling with $75 million of initial investments. 

“All results of the drilling are positive so far, and we expect huge oil and gas reserves to be discovered soon,” he said.

“More foreign companies are contacting us to invest in offshore drilling and exploration. Saudi Arabia is also setting up reservoirs for LNG in Pakistan. More Saudi investment will come to Pakistan with the passage of time.”