The Gulf Research Center
Enhancing the EU-GCC Relations within the New Climate Regime: Prospects and Opportunities for Cooperation
Workshop in the Framework of the Al-Jisr project on GCC-EU relations
In cooperation with the National Technical University of Athens, Greece and with the support of the European Commission at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels, Belgium
February 26, 2009
The Workshop is being implemented under the umbrella of the Al Jisr project titled: “Public Diplomacy and Outreach Devoted to the European Union and EU-GCC Relations”. The Al Jisr project aims:
w To enhance public and professional knowledge as well as understanding of the EU, its policies and institutions, among GCC citizens.
w To strengthen reflection and debate about EU-GCC relations and contribute to the future of effective policy-making cooperation between the two regions.
w To give policy-makers and practitioners of both regions the opportunity to discuss future policy outlines and possibly resolve current deadlocks on specific issues.
As one of the main milestones of the current project, the workshop will be moderated by special expert staff from the different partners and highly recognised discussants. The events will be thematic in order to focus the discussion on specific issues of special relevance to current affairs. The composition of the workshop participants will be balanced among EU and GCC representatives. Finally, tailor made dissemination activities will ensure that the widespread diffusion of the workshop outcomes will reach not only high level policy makers, but also academicians and key market actors from GCC and EU.
Nowadays, global warming poses certain constraints to energy usage with direct impacts on the international economic activity. In this respect, the determination of prospects and opportunities for the development of a sustainable energy economy is of outmost importance in order to pass from the current carbon constrained economy to new sustainable development paths.
In particular, the key shared interest on the above issues ranks high on the EU policy agenda and without a doubt the relevant cooperation with GCC Countries could be further developed. While there is a widespread view that the GCC region participates in the world energy scene through its vast oil and gas reserves, with little concern for environmental impact and with little incentive to invest in alternative sources of energy, there is a changing dynamic. Indeed, the use and development of Renewable Energy Sources (RES), Rational Use of Energy (RUE) as well as CO2 Capture and Sequestration could make a significant contribution to improving environmental protection and to guarantying continuation of oil supplies in conditions of stability and security. The GCC region offers massive business potential for national, regional and international companies involved in the power generation, lighting and RES energy industries. The potential development of RES in the GCC region would have mutual benefits for both the EU and the GCC countries. In this framework, both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have recently committed large funds to the climate fund from the last UN conference in Bali.
Based on the above, the current workshop envisions combining policy and technical expertise for the discussion of policy implications and opportunities of greater collaboration, in what has to be seen as a future green energy market. The final aim of the workshop is to further enhance the EU-GCC relations in key energy and climate change cooperation issues.