UAE and France: a strong partnership in multiple sectors

ABU DHABI (WAM), 11th May 2023 — The United Arab Emirates, the French Republic and their shared visions of regional and global issues continue to strengthen the strategic partnership that is built on mutual respect.

Both leaders, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE, and Emmanuel Macron, President of France, played a crucial role in strengthening bilateral ties. This partnership has produced fruitful results in the political, defence and economic domains.

Diplomatic cooperation between the two countries is a vital pillar for tackling regional and international issues, such as extremism, intolerance and promoting tolerance, coexistence and contributing to peace and security in the world.

The relationship between the UAE & France goes back to when the UAE was founded, and French oil companies such as Total worked in oil exploration within the UAE. The UAE-France partnership began soon after the UAE was established and was further strengthened by the 1975 visit to France of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Since then, high level official visits, regular meeting, and increased cooperation have strengthened the relationship.

The UAE-France Strategic Dialogue was established in 2008. Its aim is to identify and develop future partnerships, as well as existing ones, and to ensure continuity in cooperation with priority sectors, such a economy, trade and investment, culture and oil, gas and nuclear energy.

The two sides will adopt a 10-year roadmap for the strategic partnership between the UAE and France in June 2020. The 14th session held by the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue in Abu Dhabi, last June, saw the two parties discuss enhancing key sectors, such as economy, trade, and investment, oil, gas, green hydrogen and nuclear and renewable energies, climate change and education, culture, healthcare, artificial intelligence and food security. They also discussed fintech, intellectual properties rights, anti money laundering and fighting the financing of terrorists, space and cybersecurity.

In the last few years, the two countries have signed dozens of memoranda and agreements in the economic, cultural and military sectors. In December of last year, President Macron signed 13 agreements with the UAE.

The data on non-oil trade between the UAE and France reflects the fact that the UAE and France enjoy a distinguished relationship at the economic level. The Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre reported that the volume of non-oil trade between the UAE and France reached AED25,2 billion by 2021.

Cultural partnership is important as it allows communication to take place between both countries. This partnership has seen many milestones over the years. The Louvre Abu Dhabi was the first international museum of the Arab World and France’s biggest overseas cultural project. In 2006, the Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi came into being after a partnership between the Sorbonne University of Paris and the Government of Abu Dhabi.

The countries played a major role in the creation of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas. In 2017, the UAE donated EUR5 million in support of the Arab World Institute, and the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hall at the Louvre in Paris was also opened in that same year.

The UAE contributed EUR10million to the restoration and renaming of the Napoleon III Theatre at Fontainebleau Palace, south of Paris. This theatre was named after Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is a further example of the close relationship between Paris and Abu Dhabi.

The UAE is home to seven high schools that are accredited in French. These schools have more than 10,000 students and make up the world’s sixth largest network of French schools. In 2018, all UAE government-run schools implemented the experimental phase of the French Language Programme. More than 60,000 students in both government and private schools are now learning French.

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