The official spokesman for the European Union in MENA, Luis Miguel, said to Al Arabiya.net that Saudi Arabia is an essential partner of the EU to promote peace and stability in the MENA.
He indicated a fruitful political dialogue with Saudi authorities during the current period, after which they are discussing ways to support the international community to end the war between Israel and Palestine, Syria and Yemen.
“We believe that Saudi Arabia has a critical role to play in supporting these peace efforts, and we will continue our diplomatic dialogue with Riyadh to determine how to best develop synergies in this regard,” he added.
Saudi Vision 2030 is a unique opportunity
Miguel continued by saying that Saudi Vision 2030 represents a unique opportunity for Saudi Arabia and the region to progress toward a much-needed economic diversification.
“We were pleased to see how Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency was able to secure appropriate references to climate commitments in the summit outcome document, with a strong affirmation to the Paris Agreement. We share the same level of ambition, and I believe that Vision 2030 is a great platform for further economic cooperation between the EU and Saudi Arabia,” the EU spokesperson continued.
Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, Luis Miguel added: “The pandemic has caused the most severe global crisis since World War II, and according to the International Monetary Fund, the economic recovery appears to be strong, even if there are still many uncertainties explicitly related to the variables of Corona pandemic.
Production forecasts for 2022 indicate that growth in the Eurozone and the Middle East will reach 3.8%, with Saudi Arabia reaching 4%.
“EU has intensified its support to the countries of MENA by its contribution to the COVAX facility, becoming the most significant contributor with more than €2.2bn. EU and Saudi Arabia have joined forces during the most challenging days of the pandemic.
We believe that Saudi authorities have made remarkable efforts in their vaccination campaign and that many decisions, such as making vaccines available for free in pharmacies, or launching vaccination campaigns through the Sehati application, and expanding the number of vaccination centres.”
He said that all these decisions have paid off, as we note that Saudi Arabia has improved its indicators and gradually lifted restrictions, which directly impact economic performance and encourage Saudi authorities to continue these efforts.
Yemen and Iraq
He added: “As for countries in conflict, such as Yemen and Iraq, the contribution of the European Union is also significant. In Yemen, the European Union is a substantial donor to development, among the very few that are constantly focused on addressing the economic root causes of the current crisis.”
Since 2015, the EU’s development portfolio in Yemen has reached €337m. During the coming period, the European Union remains committed to this development partnership and will allocate €149m to development programs in Yemen until 2024.
The war in Yemen
“The war in Yemen has devastated the country and inflicted immense suffering on the Yemeni population, and the conflict has undermined regional stability and increased security risks, particularly to Saudi Arabia.
Therefore, we urgently need a political commitment to end the war, and influential attempts have been made in the past, such as the 2013-2014 National Dialogue
Conference, which confirmed our confidence in Yemen’s readiness to seek a new peaceful and democratic beginning for the country.
Just as the European Union continues to believe that peace is still possible in Yemen and that the Yemeni people have waited too long, we will continue to encourage political and military stakeholders to choose peace,” Luis Miguel concluded.