EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen reaffirms strong EU-UAE ties


The European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, paid an official visit to the United Arab Emirates today. The visit reaffirmed the strong ties and partnership between the EU and the UAE, and followed the EU’s recent adoption of a policy document on “A strategic partnership with the Gulf”.

The exchanges focused on the common objectives of promoting international peace and stability, reducing poverty and ensuring sustainable development. The policy document offers a basis to strengthen EU-Gulf relations in the coming years. The Commissioner's visit aimed to reinforce the EU's partnership with the UAE and financial institutions of the Gulf, and further deepen cooperation on joint priorities, including Africa. Commissioner Urpilainen emphasised the importance of  Global Gateway, the EU’s new strategy for boosting smart, clean and secure investments around the world. 

Commissioner Urpilainen said:

In these challenging times, we need to deepen our partnerships across the world and build important synergies for sustainable investments with the Gulf countries, in the region and beyond. With the EU's Global Gateway strategy, we seek to engage with all partners to build the foundations of a more sustainable and prosperous world. We count on our Gulf partners' transformational contribution in this regard.

During her visit, Commissioner Urpilainen met Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Co-operation. They discussed new and potential opportunities for EU-UAE relations, recent developments in Yemen and Afghanistan, the future of education as well the looming global food crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  

Meeting with His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Commissioner Urpilainen exchanged views on political challenges and sustainable development in Africa, and explored avenues of cooperation to address food security, climate change, and to support the green and digital transition. The Commissioner emphasised that the EU and the UAE are important partners, with shared strategic goals, and the high potential of further enhanced and strengthened cooperation to support stability, security and prosperity in Africa.

The Commissioner also met with the His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi the Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and discussed partnership opportunities on sustainable infrastructure and renewable energies notably in the framework of the EU’s strategy for investment in the world, Global Gateway. She also invited H.E. Al Suwaidi to attend the OECD-DAC high-level dialogue, which will take place for the first time in Brussels in September.

Commissioner Urpilainen gave a lecture at the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, and discussed a wide range of topics with students, including the EU’s international partnership, the importance of rules-based multilateralism, fighting inequalities and of supporting development for all.

Commissioner Urpilainen also visited the Abu Dhabi Youth Hub, where she met with young people from the Emirates to listen to their views on how to shape the EU-UAE partnership and drive forward her commitment to boost youth participation in the EU foreign policy.

She also visited the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an opportunity to learn  more about its history, significance and architecture.