Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Kuwait H.E. Anne Koistinen, who presented her credentials to His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on 15 November, held a media meeting last week at the new EU premises in Kuwait at the Al-Hamra Tower.
Welcoming media personnel to the new location, Ambassador Koistinen said that she was delighted and honored to speak with the Crown Prince during the presentation of her credentials, and to discuss ways to build on the strong partnership between the EU and Kuwait.
Pointing out that there are several areas of mutual interest to further develop EU-Kuwait relations, she indicated her intention to jointly enhance bilateral relations across various sectors, including political cooperation, trade and investment, energy, climate change, economic diversification, education, health, research and innovation, as well as regional security and stability.
The EU ambassador said, “We share with Kuwait the belief that humanitarian aid is vital in supporting vulnerable people in the region and beyond. In this context, I would like to praise Kuwait for its humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza. It is worth noting the European Union is the largest international donor to the Palestinian people and, since 16 October, the EU has launched a humanitarian air bridge bringing over 550 tonnes of humanitarian supplies for the Palestinians in Gaza.”
She noted that “as the High Representative of the EU for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell said, the EU calls for a political solution Israeli-Palestinian issue based on the Two-State Solution”. She further said that this is the EU’s shared objective with Kuwait, building on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. “I am really sad at the tragic loss of life among all civilians and hope that peace would eventually prevail,” she concluded.
Pointing out that the EU High Representative had stated during his visit to Kuwait last year that the “EU is the second biggest trading partner for Kuwait, but we can still do more together”, Ambassador Koistinen stressed that her mission is to translate these words into action working in ‘Team Europe’ spirit together with EU Member States.
“A strengthened partnership is beneficial both for the EU and Kuwait with the EU being the world’s largest single market, a leader in research and innovation, an important security actor in the Gulf region and the leading actor on global challenges such as climate change and digitalisation.
“Another area of cooperation between the EU and Kuwait is inter-cultural cooperation, mobility for youth and students, higher education cooperation and exchanges that will improve mutual understanding and trust between our peoples,” she said. The EU envoy added that “the EU Delegation has been working with Kuwait also on women’s empowerment, which is a subject I’m keen to discuss in close cooperation with the government, civil society, private sector among others”.
Facilitating travel is an important element of enhancing people to people contacts, which is one of the pillars of the EU Strategy towards the Gulf. In this context, Ambassador Koistinen made it clear that she was delighted when the European Commission adopted on 8 September more favorable rules on the issuing of Schengen multiple entry visas to Kuwaiti nationals. This new ‘visa cascade’ regime for Kuwaiti nationals applying for Schengen visas in Kuwait will see all eligible applicants, including first-time travelers, being issued with visas valid for 5 years, if the passport validity allows.
She also expressed her delight last October to welcome the recently appointed EU first Special Representative for the Gulf region, Luigi Di Maio in Kuwait, which was his first visit to Kuwait in this position. She also added that his very successful visit is proof of the EU’s new ambition to take EU-Kuwait joint cooperation to a new strategic level. “The Special Representative was right when he said that he is seeking an EU-Gulf partnership based on dialogue, respect and results”, she added.
She concluded by saying that she is really delighted to be in Kuwait. “I have already met many Kuwaiti friends from all walks of life and I look forward to working with Kuwaitis to strengthen EU-Kuwait partnership further.”