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EU-GCC Joint Council: Remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival

21.02.2022
Brussels

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Allow me to start with a statement welcoming the Foreign Affairs Minister of Saudi Arabia [Prince Faisal]. We are both going to co-chair an important meeting of the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

It shows the importance of the Gulf and countries in the Gulf. Not because at this moment we have some security concerns related to energy, but because on a permanent basis the European Union has to engage more.

We are the first investor in the region – the first investor – and the second trade partner. But, politically, we are not at the same level. Our relationship has to be enhanced. And I think this is a good moment to do so. This is going to be the first step for a stronger and deeper relationship.

Q&A

Q. Regarding the Joint Communiqué you are preparing with the Gulf countries. When will it be ready? When will you release it?

After the meeting.

Q. So, today you will release the Joint Communiqué?

I hope so, why not?

Q. Which specific role do you see for the European Union to play in regard to security? There are many issues, there are many ideas. Do you see a substantial role in the future for the Gulf security?

How not? In this precise moment I personally am in charge of coordinating the negotiations between Iran and the international community in order to avoid Iran becoming nuclear. This is a very important issue for the security in the region. Just that certifies the important role that the European Union is playing, but we want to do more than that.

We are going to nominate a Special European Union Envoy for the Gulf region, because we know that the security issues in this area – in the broader Middle East – are very important for us. Not only because of Iran. Look at the war in Yemen, for example. Not just because of energy, but because in this region the transition towards a green economy will be one of the most important aspects for us, for them, for the humankind.

Q. About the nuclear talks, are you optimistic that you may conclude them by the end of this week in Vienna?

We are not going to talk about it. I will tell the Prince something about the negotiations, but I cannot tell you.Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-218795

Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)460 75 45 53