File- A view shows Mellitah oil and gas plant near Zuwarah, Libya, October 10, 2017. Picture taken October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Hani Amara
CAIRO – 22 February 2019: European Union (EU) is the biggest investor in the Arab League countries, said The Council of European Union in a statement on Friday, two days ahead of the upcoming Arab-European summit due on February 24 and 25 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Thirty-two percent of the EU countries’ oil imports comes from the Arab League states, the statement added, noting that EU natural gas imports from Arab states compromise 19 percent.
“The summit will provide an opportunity for leaders to discuss how to further strengthen economic cooperation between the two sides. Leaders are expected to discuss possibilities to develop cooperation in the fields of energy, science, research, (digital) technology, tourism, fisheries and agriculture,” the statement read.
The EU council also stated that the summit will tackle the socio-economic issues, amid the increasing number of populations in both regions, which compromise 12 percent of the world’s population.
“With the Middle East especially experiencing strong population growth (from 1950-2000 the population already grew from 92 million to 349 million, which is a 3.8 fold increase, or 2.7% per year) the cross-regional opportunities and challenges are likely to increase,” the statement added.
Trade, investment, immigration and security will be among the top priority issues to be discussed during the summit, said Ambassador of the European Union to Egypt Ivan Surkos on Wednesday.
Heads of 28 European countries and leaders of 21 Arab states will participate in the summit, which will co-chaired by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, EU Council President Donald Tusk, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Mohamed Imam, EU-Arab Summit media officer told Egypt Today.
Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh International Airport is on high alert in preparation for receiving the high guests and heads of Arab and European countries, said the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation in statement on Thursday.
Additional reporting by Mohamed el-Gali