EU intends to boost cooperation with Gulf countries, appoint special rep.
The European Union Tuesday reiterated its intention to boost strategic cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and announced that a decision on the appointment of the first EU Special Representative for the Gulf will be made soon.
“We need to step up our engagement with the countries of the Gulf and this was outlined last year in the joint communique by the EU High Representative and the European Commission on strategic partnership with the Gulf,” EU spokesman for foreign affairs and security policy, Peter Stano, told a news conference in Brussels today.
“So it is very important that the EU has a special representative for engagement with the countries of the Gulf,” he added.
“This special representative will play an important role in implementing the strategy and taking forward this strategy and our determination to increase our multifaceted cooperation with the countries of the Gulf,” he said in reply to a question by KUNA, on the issue. Commenting on media reports saying EU High Representative Josep Borrell has sent a letter to the 27 EU foreign ministers proposing former Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio as European Union Special Representative for the Gulf, Stano said: “we on our side are very loyal to the procedures and proper manners and we usually never comment on the correspondence sent by High Representative to the EU member states.” “So I cannot confirm anything. I can only say that the procedure in order to select, nominate, and to adopt the concrete person as the new EU special representative to the Gulf is not completed yet,” he said.
The procedure within the EU Council of Ministers, which represent the 27 EU member states, has “not been finalized. So it is still running. So we cannot comment publicly on something that is internal and ongoing. So we would not contribute to speculation out there,” he pointed out.
“We hope that the Council will soon be able to make a decision and appropriate announcement when it comes to the specific person,” he added.
However, according to KUNA’s information, EU Permanent Representatives are expected to discuss and approve the nomination of Luigi Di Maio during their meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
The EU Council of Ministers is then expected to give its green light to the ex-Italian FM as the first EU special representative to the Gulf within a month.
Italian media on Sunday broke the news of Di Maio’s nomination and quoted the letter sent by Borrell to the EU foreign ministers who met in Luxembourg on Monday.
“Following very careful deliberation, I consider that the best-suited candidate is Mr Luigi Di Maio,” wrote Borrell.
“As former foreign minister of Italy, Mr Luigi Di Maio has the necessary political profile at the international level for this role,” he noted.
Di Maio’s “broad contacts” with Gulf countries “will allow him to engage with the relevant actors at the appropriate level,” said the EU foreign policy chief.
He proposed the appointment of Di Maio as EU Special Representative for the Gulf “for an initial period of 21 months”, starting on June 1, 2023 until February 28, 2025. The 6-member GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Source: Kuwait News Agency