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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Qatar’s Strategic Role in EU- Arab Partnership will result in Sustainable Development


The International Arab Banking Summit 2012 was held on 28th -29th of June 2012 at Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin, Germany. International and Arab Bankers, economists, top business professionals and key industry players participated in this event. The theme of this summit was “The Change” and Dr. R. Seetharaman, Doha Bank Group CEO participated in the Panel discussion on “EU- MENA Economic relations following the Regional and International developments” on 28th June 2012.

Speaking on the Occasion Dr.R.Seetharaman highlighted the importance of bilateral relationship between Arab and EU block. He said “In order to have a proper roadmap for regional prosperity, Arab world is committed to achieve deeper economic and commerce integration, expanded trade with other blocs for its benefit andLegal cooperation & Financial Co-operation. The Challenges for the Arab World includeminimize the gap between prosperous and struggling economies within Arab by uplifting struggling economies, addressing adversities of globalization and creating equitable position with other blocs, minimize investment and effort on sectors where intra-Arab conflict of interest and competition is avoidable, Synergize investment towards overall Arab interest, Increase EU-Arab trade on mutually beneficial andprogress on diversification which will contribute to economic development and employment opportunities.”


Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the bilateral trade developments between Arab World and EU. He said “EU-GCC bilateral trade flows reached almost EUR 100 billion in 2010. In 2011 the European Union imported goods worth EUR 56.58 B from GCC and exported goods worth EUR 72.24 bn to the GCC. GCC is currently the EU's fifth largest export market and the EU is the second trading partner for the GCC. The exports to GCC mainly comprise of Machinery, chemicals, vehicles, aircrafts plastic products, natural or coloured pearls. The imports from GCC are mainly crude oil. In 2011 EU goods exports to Egypt worth €13.9 billion and EU goods imports from Egypt worth €9.4 billion..Increase EU-Arab trade on mutually beneficial basis, maintain their relative competitiveness and promote regional economic integration. The EU – GCC trade Cooperation should extend to Trade, Investment and Finance, energy, environment and economic fields. The Cooperation requires further strengthening by recognizing the developments in countries taking place across the blocs, knowledge about markets, policies and regulations for import-export, good communication links, seamless Banking and Insurance facilities and Multi-level forums for interaction.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman explained the support provided by European Union in response to the Arab Spring. He said “In May 2011, the EU undertook to make available up to €1.2 billion on top of the €5.7 billion already budgeted for grant support for the period 2011-2013. In addition, the European Investment Bank (EIB) can now provide, besides the €4 billion available before the Arab Spring, additional loans for up to €1 billion to the region. A programme called the SPRING (Support for Partnership Reform and Inclusive Growth) programme makes available support on a 'more-for-more' basis to partner countries showing sustained commitment to, and progress in, democratic reforms. The creation of the Civil Society Facility which aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society to promote reform and increase public accountability in their countries. The launch of 'mobility partnerships', including visa facilitation and readmission agreements. The EU is also a major player in the G-8 “Deauville Partnership” initiative that has already seen €20 billion pledged for the countries of the Southern Mediterranean.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman mentioned the bilateral trends between GCC and EU. He said “GCC has excellent bilateral relationship with the EU. In May 2011 QIA acquired 70% of the capital of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), a French football club, in order to develop its presence in Europe. In Jan 2011 a partnership between Qatar Media Corporation (QMC) and Radio France International (RFI) was signed for. In May 2010 his H.E Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nassar Al Thani purchased the Malaga Football Club for $48.3 million. In November 2010 Qatar & Spain has signed a MOU to include mobile technologies in projects extracting gas from complex or depleted gas deposits in Uzbekistan.In October 2010 Repsol and Qatar gas signed a multiyear LNG agreement under which Qatar gas will supply LNG to Resold Energy Canada Ltd.Qatar also imports around QR5.5bn worth of goods from Italy. Trade between Qatar and Italy grew by 13% in 2011.In March 2012 an agreement was signed by Simest and Concordia Capital to promote the presence of Italian companies in Qatar. The Super major Oil companies in EU namely Shell and Total have presence in GCC.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman also highlighted the major bilateral developments between Qatar and EU. He said ”German businessmen seek partnership in Qatari SMEs. The five stadium projects launched for FIFA 2022 have been designed by German architect Albert Speer &Partners. In June 2010 Siemens launched development centre at Qatar Science and Technology Park. In Oct 2011 Qatar Holdings agreed to buy a 9.9 per cent equity stake in European Goldfields. In August 2011 Qatar announced it will inject 500mn euros into the merger of Greece’s Euro bank and Alpha Bank.  In April 2010 Qatar Diar bought a 40 per cent stake in hotel chain Fairmont Raffles. Qatari Diar, which counts London's Chelsea Barracks among its most high-profile overseas assets. QatariDiar bought Harrods for a reported $2.3 billion.Once fully operational, Pearl GTL (Gas to Liquids) Qatar which is owned by QP and Shell will produce 1.6bn cubic feet of gas per day from the North Field, which will be processed to deliver 120,000 barrels per day of condensate, LPG and ethane and 140,000 barrels per day of GTL products using Shell’s unique technological and project management capabilities. Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund has accumulated a 2% stake in French oil company Total SA.Total Petrochemicals owns 20% of QAPCO, Qatar.“

In his concluding remarks Dr. R. Seetharaman said “EU and Arab world complement mutual strength, have easier alignment and can promote economic development of respective blocs.Qatar’s Strategic Role in EU- Arab Partnership will result in sustainable development”


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