EU, GCC discuss effects of low oil prices on economies

BRUSSELS, 19th November, 2015 (WAM) -- The sixth annual dialogue between the 28-member European Union and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, concluded on Thursday after a fruitful discussion and exchange of views on the economic situation as well as on the impact of oil prices drop on the economies of the two blocs.

Speaking to the Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, Sami Al-Saqabi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance in Kuwait, said that Wednesday's meeting was preceded by a GCC coordination meeting held at the GCC premises in Brussels on Tuesday night on the working papers that were presented at the dialogue with the EU.

Kuwait presented three working papers related to the impact of the drop in oil prices on the economy of Kuwait and on the GCC economic outlook.

There was another similar paper presented by Qatar and one on behalf of the GCC as a whole, said Al Saqabi who led the Kuwaiti delegation at the dialogue. "The European Commission is very much interested in such a dialogue with the GCC side," he said.

The EU presented papers on the economic and financial priorities of the EU for the coming years and another one on the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

The issue of the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement, which is currently on hold, was also mentioned in the meeting and it is hoped that a special meeting on the matter will take place as those officials responsible for the FTA were not present at Wednesday's meeting, he said.

The two sides agreed that the drop in oil price will have a negative effect on the producing countries. The Kuwaiti official also presented the steps that the government has taken or will take to avoid any effects on the general budget of the country.

Elena Flores, Director for International Economic and Financial Relations in the European Commission, led the EU side at the Dialogue.

Speaking to KUNA ahead of the meeting, she said, "This dialogue is very interesting as it allows people to speak very openly about shared problems, shared difficulties. We have common challenges like oil prices."

The Dialogue was co-chaired from the GCC side by Ahmed Mohammad Al-Marzouqi, Director for International Cooperation, Economic and Trade Agreement Department in the Qatari Ministry of Economy and Commerce. Qatar holds the current GCC Presidency.


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