The European Union’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates says Dubai’s Expo 2020 is a moment to help create a future that is more sustainable, with more solidarity.
Andrea Matteo Fontana was speaking to Euronews as the 27-nation bloc bids to puts its economy back on track following the coronavirus pandemic.
Dubai will host the Expo 2020 next year. Speaking to Euronews, Fontana says it will be one of the first events where people can exchange experiences and learn from each other following the COVID-10 outbreak.
“For that, I think that the motto is still very appropriate: ‘Connecting minds, creating the future’. We're going to look at how together we can create a future that is more sustainable, where there is more solidarity,” he said.
Protection but not protectionism
Fontana acknowledges that the crisis had a devastating effect on EU the economy, on supplies and making sure the right things were in place at the right time.
He said: “I think that we need protection, but not protectionism. We do not want isolation. We want to have continued global collaboration.”
He went to say that coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic was going to be a challenge for all of us. Moreover, this was an opportunity for the EU to show that its response can make a difference.
The EU has plans to introduce €750bn into its economy via what it calls the Next Generation Fund. However, Fontana added that the most important thing was to try to have a common response to a common problem.
“But there cannot be one recipe for all the member states," he said, "Because the economies are different, the demography is different. So, we have to leave them some leeway in adopting the recipes to what are the local challenges.”
Fontana says Europe has a good relationship with the United Arab Emirates and wants to build on it. The EU is one of the major trading blocs with the UAE. Last year the European Union traded in goods to the value of €50bn. That puts it in the top three of the trading blocs with the country.
The EU opened its delegation in the country in 2013, with the goal of strengthening the Union’s cooperation as well as intensify bilateral relations with the UAE.