Cooperation between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council is more important than ever, the head of EU foreign policy Josep Borrell said, as quoted by The National, during a visit to the United Arab Emirates.
“Your security is our security,” Borrell said, adding that “This has changed the energy landscape of Europe. [This] energy partnership makes more sense than ever."
Borrell noted that while until this year the EU had relied on Russia for 40 percent of its energy supply, now this had dropped to just 8 percent. The current state of affairs was likely to continue for years, the EU’s top diplomat also said.
“We need to reduce our consumption of gas," Borrell said. "We need other suppliers and we need to continue fighting against climate change at the moment.”
Borrell pointed out that the UAE was a major supplier of oil and gas but added that “hydrocarbon will not be the energy forever.” He then went on to note that "You have sun. You are investing a lot in new renewables. It is also an important partnership.”
Despite the current gas squeeze, Europe is not giving up on its transition efforts and planning significant increases in wind and solar capacity additions, despite rising raw material prices there.
Meanwhile, media have reported that despite the decline in Russian pipeline gas imports and oil imports as well as the drop in coal purchases after an embargo on those kicked in three months ago, Europe appears to still be buying Russian LNG, at a rate that reached 1.2 million tons over the 12 months to September.
This has probably added a sense of urgency in finding new supply partners and securing table commitments with them, including with the UAE.
“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,” Borrell said during his visit.