The European Union launched ‘Young Leaders in Regional Diplomacy’

The programme foster greater exchanges between EU and GCC Diplomats

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Riyadh – Asdaf News:

As part of an ongoing commitment to strengthen people to people contacts between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Union, the EU hosted in Brussels and Bruges, between 12-17 May 2024, the first edition of the “Young Leaders in Regional Diplomacy” Programme, the first of its kind in the EU-GCC relations.

The Programme brought together 14 young diplomats from the Gulf Cooperation Council Member States, as well as the GCC Secretariat General, including two diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, with their fellow European young diplomats at the European Diplomatic Academy at the College of Europe in Bruges.

During their visit, the GCC diplomats met with senior EU officials, representatives from prominent European think tanks, visited EU institutions and the GCC diplomatic missions and engaged in discussions with their fellow young European diplomats. They exchanged views on key strategic areas of mutual interest, learn about the principles and functioning of the EU and its diplomatic service and discussed the priorities for the future of bilateral and regional relations They also participated in informal exchanges and cultural activities.

Commenting on the visit, the EU Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Christophe Farnaud said: ‘’The ‘Young Leaders in Regional Diplomacy’ programme served as a platform to facilitate greater exchange between the EU and our GCC partners. It reflected our mutual commitment to widen and broaden our collaboration across all areas of mutual strategic interest, including enhancing people to people exchanges.  We welcome the successful participation of the Saudi diplomats and remain committed to further diplomatic exchanges in the future.‘

The EU Special Representative for the Gulf Region, Mr Luigi Di Maio warmly welcomed the first edition of the programme by saying that “I strongly believe in the magic effect of these encounters and in the positive energy of our young people to build ties that last, to better understand respective sensitivities, to listen and to respect each other. This is a great investment in diplomacy and in our shared security and prosperity”.

The ‘Young Leaders in Regional Diplomacy’ programme is coordinated by the office of the EU Special Representative for the Gulf, Luigi Di Maio, and was implemented with the support of the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments.

It was launched during the High-Level Forum on 22 April 2024 in Luxembourg which brought together for the first time in an informal and frank dialogue on the regional security and cooperation the EU and GCC Foreign Ministers.

The programme coincided with the second anniversary of the EU joint communication on a Strategic Partnership with the Gulf, published in May 2022,  and the related Council conclusions of 20 June 2022.  The Joint Communication sets the vision for EU-Gulf relations that aims to broaden and deepen the EU’s cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council and its Member States, presenting concrete proposals to strengthen cooperation on energy, green transition and climate change, trade and economic diversification, regional stability and global security, humanitarian and development challenges, and closer people to people contacts.

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