United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan is all set to pay his visit to France on July 18, and this would be his first official visit after assuming the President’s office in May.
During the visit, President Sheikh Mohammad will be meeting French President Emmanuel Macron and will have a healthy discussion in the fields of “future energy, climate change and advanced technology” and efforts to bolster regional security and stability, according to local media.
The capital city Paris has close economic and political ties with Abu Dhabi, and French President Emmanuel Macron has built a good relationship with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed, who had already been for years as a de facto leader. France has a permanent military base in the UAE.
During a visit by Macron to the Gulf state, the two countries signed a series of major deals last year, including an arms contract worth $19 billion. French energy giants TotalEnergies and Engie also won billion-euro deals.
On Wednesday, Patrick Pouyanne, TotalEnergies Chief Executive, said that France is talking to Abu Dhabi about importing fuel and diesel for the coming winter season in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has impacted Russian energy supplies to Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited Dubai in September 2021 at the historic Chateau de Fontainbleu outside Paris, recently restored with UAE funding.
Over the past several years, and despite some setbacks, Paris and Abu Dhabi have developed a multi-layered strategic partnership that includes political, security and economic dimensions.
Deeper French-Emirati engagement highlights a significant trend in Europe-Gulf relations. Despite years of engagement at the multilateral level between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Gulf and European countries have bypassed mainly multilateral mechanisms. They have opted to deepen their ties at the bilateral level.