Josep Borrell says Gulf-EU energy partnership 'makes more sense than ever'

'Your security is our security,' EU's foreign policy chief states during official visit to the UAE

Josep Borrell said the EU has a new strategy for more engagement and better partnership with the Gulf countries. EPA
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Co-operation between Europe and the GCC on energy and security is more important than ever, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said.

Mr Borrell told state news agency Wam that before the Ukrainian crisis, the EU was importing 40 per cent of its energy supplies from Russia. This has since been reduced to eight per cent.

During an official visit to the UAE, Mr Borrell said an important part of energy supplies to the EU has come from the Gulf, including the UAE.

“Your security is our security,” said the Spanish politician, who took charge as EU foreign policy chief in 2019.

“This has changed the energy landscape of Europe. [This] energy partnership makes more sense than ever."

The diplomat said the current energy supply scenario could continue for years.

“We need to reduce our consumption of gas," he said. "We need other suppliers and we need to continue fighting against climate change at the moment.”

As Cop27, the UN conference on climate change, taking place in Egypt — and with the UAE hosting Cop28 next year — Mr Borrell said the world needed to find more sustainable sources of energy.

“I think our energy partnership makes more sense than ever. You are supplier, we are consumer, but hydrocarbon will not be the energy forever. We need to look for new sources," he said.

"You have sun. You are investing a lot in new renewables. It is also an important partnership.”

The Ukrainian crisis has provided the push for the EU to understand the requirement of more renewables, especially the need to develop hydrogen, Mr Borrell said.

“We need to look for partners to develop hydrogen, because here you have surface and sun to produce green electricity and green hydrogen,” he said,

He said the energy crisis has accelerated the green transition in the EU.

The bloc has a new strategy for more engagement and better partnership with the Gulf countries, Mr Borrell said.

“They [Gulf states] have always been very important for us. Not only because they are supplying energy, but the Gulf is becoming a strategic part of the world in the middle of the way between Europe, and South and East Asia,” he said.

"We want to be a better partner. We have to engage more in order to face the big challenges,” he said, referring to issues including climate change, migration, security and the new energy landscape.

The war in Yemen, instability in Iraq and Syria and negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal are important developments in the wider Middle East, the foreign policy chief said.

“The whole region is a mosaic of security issues. We want to work together with you to solve some of these problems. The peace between Israel and Palestine needs a strong engagement with the Arab world and the Europeans together,” Mr Borrell said.

Updated: November 10, 2022, 5:11 AM