Bilateral Relations

The relations of the United Arab Emirates with the Kingdom of Belgium

The diplomatic relations between the UAE and the Kingdom of Belgium started in 1973 by opening the office of the Belgian Embassy in the UAE, and then by appointing the first Ambassador of Belgium in the UAE in 1975. The UAE has opened an embassy in the Belgian capital in September 1976.

The United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Belgium have distinctive diplomatic relations since the establishment of the Union, given that Belgium was one of the first countries that acknowledged the independence of the UAE and voted for the State to join The United Nations. The diplomatic relations between the two countries flourished to become a friendship between the leaderships of the two countries and resulted in strengthening the economic ties. And the best proof is the steady growth of the volume of trade between the two countries, which amounted to 3.2 billion euros in 2010. In the first eight months of 2011, the volume of exports of Belgium to the UAE rose by 36%, and the size of the State's exports to Belgium grew by 92% compared with the same period of last year, to become the first trading partner of Belgium in the Arab world.

What helped strengthening the economic and investment relations between the UAE and Belgium, are the elements of the UAE economy, like the flexible legislation and investment laws in UAE in general, and the free zones in particular, as well as the infrastructure projects and plans developed by the State and its diverse economic strategies and available opportunities in all areas, in addition to the geographical location and logistics services provided by the State.

Also, the emergence of UAE as a featured touristic destination on the global level made an increasing number of Belgian citizens choose it as their touristic destination, which helped in consolidating the relations between the two countries, not only in terms of development of the tourism sector, but also in terms of strengthening the human and cultural relations between the Emiratis and the Belgians.

 


The relations of the United Arab Emirates with the European Union
 
As well as the growing relations on the bilateral level between the UAE and the countries of the European Union, the official relations of the State with the European Union is within the framework of the EU relations with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
 
Since the signing of the Cooperation Agreement between the GCC and the EU in 1988, the parties were looking for ways to facilitate economic and trade relations and expanding areas of economic and technical cooperation as well as cooperation in the fields of energy, trade, industry, services, agriculture, investment, science, technology and environment.
 
Among the significant milestones in the history of GCC - European relations, is the approval of the Interministerial Council - at the twentieth session, held in Luxembourg in June 2010 - of the EU-GCC Joint Action Programme 2013-2010, which is an ambitious program aims to intensify cooperation in areas of common interest.
 
This program signed between the two sides, which encompasses in the areas of cooperation like the economy, trade, industry, energy, education, culture and tourism, is considered an important step. As for the meetings, which began among the experts, officials and specialists from both sides in the fields of economy, energy and environment are a clear index of mutual desire to push the relations to higher and more comprehensive levels.

The importance of the current phase in the relations of the parties, is in being a station in the way of developing long-term strategic goals that lead to the expansion and deepening of relations of mutual cooperation to serve the interests of the two groups, as well as increasing the areas of coordination and consultation to include coordination in political and security positions, and expand the areas of investment in both sides.
 
The development of joint cooperation between the two parties will be by implementing of the Joint Action Programme, particularly on the level of exchange of knowledge and experience in vital areas such as environment, energy security, and exchange of techniques and advanced technology; The United Arab Emirates managed to benefit from all these areas by adopting an ambitious policy that creates the right climate to be pioneers and experiment in different areas.
 
On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates strongly supports the GCC and the EU negotiations, to reach a free trade agreement that supports the interests of the parties and raise their relationship up to a strategic partnership that is built on common ground and mutual interests and close historical relations.
  
 

The relations of the United Arab Emirates with NATO

The UAE demonstrated since its establishment its attachment to the values ​​of peace and good-neighborly and friendly relations and encouragement of cooperation between nations and peoples. The State has supported all regional or international initiative that can spread and entrench these values ​​in any region of the world.

When the North Atlantic Treaty - NATO – expressed its desire to enter into a strategic partnership with countries that share the values ​​of peace and international cooperation, the UAE did not hesitate to join the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative in June 2004, because the State believes that such an initiative can offer support for regional and international security and be an effective tool for practical cooperation between NATO and partners.

Since its accession to the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, the State has been able to demonstrate a special role within the partnership countries, whether through its participation in the ISAF forces in Afghanistan or in the operation "The Unified Protector", which made it possible to protect Libyan civilians and to enable Libya to open a new page in its history.

The relations between NATO and the United Arab Emirates have developed through exchange of official visits and participation of the state delegations in the meetings of NATO at various levels. Perhaps the best evidence of the critical importance attached by the United Arab Emirates to its partnership with NATO is the presence of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a number of meetings organized by the Alliance at the highest levels, including the NATO summit in at its headquarters in Brussels.

The decision of the State to open the first permanent Arabic mission to NATO and to appoint an ambassador in the near future, is a clear expression of the desire of both parties to consolidate the relations of cooperation and determination to progress these relations to higher levels to serve the common interests of both parties and support the foundations of international peace and security.