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The Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA), the UAE’s leading diplomatic centre that trains and prepares current and future diplomats, on Tuesday 10th of January, organised a panel discussion on Europe’s current energy crisis, in coordination with the Embassy of Belgium in the UAE. The informative session was open to the public and welcomed more than 100 attendees from the general public, in addition to members of the diplomatic community, academics, and AGDA students and faculty.
Titled “The Geopolitics of Energy Security in Europe”, the event opened with welcome remarks by Professor Eric Canal, Dean of AGDA, and was followed by an engaging panel discussion, featuring His Excellency Antoine Delcourt, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the UAE, Dr Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, President of the Emirates Policy Center, and Dr Ahmed Rashad, Assistant Professor at AGDA, and a questions-and-answers session.
The session covered the European governments’ options for tackling the current high energy prices and the roles that the UAE and other Middle East countries could play as Europe reduces its dependence on Russian energy supplies. There was also a discussion around the G7 countries' price cap on Russian oil and how Moscow might cope with this move, as well as the extent to which the current crisis could offer Europe new opportunities going forward.
The panellists also delved into the geopolitics of the crisis and its possible impacts on global alliances and discussed the impacts of food insecurity and other potential negative impacts on millions of people as urgent issues for the coming year. For Europe itself, the session noted that the reduction of energy dependency on Russia would have inflationary consequences with the possibility of a mild recession in the region. All of these developments had potential implications for the Arabian Gulf countries and the future of the international energy market.
Professor Eric Canal, Dean of AGDA, said: “Our panel session today highlighted the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy’s important role as an open forum for renowned practitioners and leaders to discuss critical strategic and economic issues for the benefit of practitioners, experts, our students and the general public.”
“Our assessment of the current energy crisis in Europe demonstrates our commitment to providing expert insights on a development that will also have a significant impact in the Arabian Gulf region. Through its accredited academic programmes and active training courses, designed according to the highest standards in the areas of diplomacy and international relations, we are providing students with vital skills and knowledge in global affairs as we prepare them to become the next generation of Emirati diplomats ready to tackle 21st-century dynamics and trends.”
His Excellency Antoine Delcourt, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the UAE, said: “These are hard times, no doubt. Covid was hard, and we are now facing another difficulty with the persistent energy crisis, soaring of gas and electricity prices and linked inflation. It is difficult for households, for SMEs, for the industry, and for society. But it is no reason for defeatism, Belgium and Europe are resilient. The next years are going to be difficult, but we’ll get through this. We will overcome this with a mix of short-term decisions and longer-term reforms.”
“As Belgian Prime Minister De Croo said, we should use the opportunity that this crisis holds to jump forward with our energy transition towards green and resilient economies and invest further in new technologies reducing co2 emissions and implementing more renewable energy systems, like offshore wind shores as we are doing in Belgium.”
Dr. Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, President, Emirates Policy Center, said: “Energy inter-dependence often outgrows and outpaces geopolitics considering the need for energy is critical for the proper functioning of modern society. A prolonged conflict such as the Russia-Ukraine war compels energy suppliers and energy consumers to constantly engage and find the best route forward during these testing times. As we struggle to respond to this conflict’s consequences, we must constantly engage, deliberate, and suggest the best step forward. However, it is equally important that we let the markets determine the best way to respond to such a crisis.”
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