By Binsal Abdulkader
ABU DHABI 16th July 2020 (WAM) — As the newly elected president of the Council of the European Union, Germany believes that the EU and the UAE have great opportunities to work together, a German diplomat told Emirates News Agency, WAM.
“You can see the obvious overlap between the EU the UAE agendas,” said Peter Fischer, the German Ambassador to the UAE, as his country took over the six-month presidency of the Council of the EU on 1st July.
“Together [EU and UAE] we need to stand for what we call the rules-based multilateral order. We are both supporters of the United Nations and institutions such as the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation,” he added.
“We both want to protect global public goods like the environment, health and free trade, and make sure they are managed by negotiation and compromise. We are for the rule of law, rather than the rule of the strongest.”
Both EU and UAE are highly inter-connected with a high share of foreign trade. “We thrive on connectivity, the free movement of people, goods, services and data,” Fischer pointed out.
“While the EU wants to reduce excessive dependency in some areas such as production of Personal protective equipment, PPE, and some basic pharmaceutical products, we want to strengthen international cooperation, division of labour and value chains,” he said.
“The UAE is already our top partner in this region and plays a vital regional and global role. But we can do more.
“The EU and Germany are perfect partners as the UAE accelerate and deepen their strategy of transition to a knowledge-based economy, which is more diversified, adds higher in-country value and relies even more on advanced technology and qualifications.
“We’re moving in the same direction. Let’s help each other,” he added.
As digitisation is an EU and UAE priority, and the latter has been “very successful” in the digital economy, both parties can partner in smart cities, the envoy suggested.
He added that the EU considers the UAE to be a very important partner in fighting climate change.
“Climate change is a bigger danger than the present health situation caused by the pandemic. Every day there are reports of extreme weather, droughts, sea level rise. We all need to raise our game and we don’t have much time,” he said.
The UAE and Europe can lead together in solar and wind energy, the hydrogen economy as well as energy efficiency, the future of cities, transport, buildings and food production, he explained.
The ambassador also wants more interaction between youngsters on both sides. “I would be delighted if our young people could have more structured experiences together: Learning, training, studying and creating art, doing sports or developing shared concepts about their ambitions for the future,” he said.
“Because long after the German presidency ends, it will be up to the young people to turn all this potential into reality.”
The EU Council presidency has come at a critical time for Germany, for Europe and the world, the envoy said.
“The EU is the biggest and one of the most prosperous markets in the world. We have been living in the longest period of peace in our history,” he stressed.
“During this crisis [caused by the pandemic] we showed solidarity, capacity for compromises and social security and have flattened the curve. Yet, like anywhere else we face strategic challenges in a fast changing world.
“Germany wants to use this unprecedented crisis to set in motion unprecedented changes in the European Union and lay the groundwork for a happy future. Our motto is Together for Europe’s recovery.”