The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council H.E. Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani and EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc met on 9 January to discuss enhanced cooperation in the transport sector.
The GCC and EU already enjoy significant economic relations. The EU is the fourth largest export market while the EU is the number one trading partner for GCC.
The EU Commission and the GCC counterparts discussed the challenges and opportunities of economic diversification in the Gulf region, focusing on transport infrastructure development, investment attraction and policies and regulations, and private sector development. Transport and infrastructure are seen as key enablers to develop a diversified economy.
On railways – the GCC-SG and DG MOVE will hold a joint workshop on March 6, 2017, in order to exchange experience and transfer knowledge on subjects relevant to the development of railways and their interconnection with other modes of transport and logistics. A Memorandum of Understanding between the European Railway Agency (ERA) and the GCC SG will be signed in the near future representing an important basis for deepening further cooperation.
On aviation, both sides launched in November 2013 an EU-GCC Aviation Dialogue. The EU-GCC dialogue will now focus on specific technical areas of cooperation like aviation security, aviation safety and ATM. In this context, technical joint working groups are to commence work shortly.
Both sides also agreed to work together and share experiences on the important issue of road safety, building on EU's progress in the field.
On maritime transport, both sides exchanged views on the current developments and challenges that the shipping sector is facing and looked at Liquefied Natural Gas market developments with regard to its use as a transport fuel.
Finally, both sides discussed the significant investment opportunities in the transport sector. The Commissioner shared the EU's successful experience with the Investment Plan for Europe, helping to leverage private sector with innovative financial instruments and addressing barriers to investment.
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