EU-LAS Summit to focus on strengthening economic cooperation, tackling strategic priorities
Ahram Online, , Saturday 23 Feb 2019

The EU-Arab League summit set to kick off in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday will provide an opportunity for participating heads of state and governments to further strengthen economic cooperation.

In an official press release on Friday, the EU provided an overview of the summit which will for the first time bring together leaders from both organisations discussing mutual strategic priorities.

European Council President Donald Tusk will co-chair the meeting together with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also representing the EU.

More than 20 European heads of state or government will be at the summit, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

According to the statement, the EU is the first trading partner and biggest investor in Arab League countries.

“Leaders are expected to discuss possibilities to develop cooperation in the fields of energy, science, research, (digital) technology, tourism, fisheries and agriculture,” the statement said.

They will also have the opportunity to tackle a number of pressing global issues, including human rights and promotion of cultural and religious tolerance and migration, which the EU described as a mutual challenge for both sides.

An emphasis on the need to protect and support refugees in accordance with international law, the fight against illegal migration and migrant smuggling will also be discussed.

Combating terrorism is also a key issue set to be addressed, where leaders are expected to agree on the need to further increase cooperation and coordination aimed at addressing the root causes of terrorism, fighting the influx of foreign terrorist fighters, and cutting-off support to terrorist networks.

Regional conflicts, including the crisis in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the Middle East Peace process, are also up for discussion in the two-day summit.