The UAE and Austria have signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership aimed at expanding relations and launching a new stage of bilateral cooperation.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz witnessed the signing.
This came as part of a Joint Declaration made by the two countries, which reaffirms their commitment to strengthen cooperation in order to achieve their shared goals and drive growth in their countries.
The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement was signed by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Alexander Schallenberg, Austria's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Sheikh Mohammed and Kurz held discussions and exchanged views on the latest international developments, regional security as well as exploring ways to increase political, economic, humanitarian, and cultural cooperation between the two countries.
The foundation of such a Partnership was already laid during their first meeting in Abu Dhabi in April 2018.
Further reviews and updates were made during their second meeting in March 2019, whereas the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has now been completed and will enable the UAE and the Republic of Austria to advance their cooperation in fields of mutual strategic interest.
Political, Diplomatic, and International Cooperation
Both countries envisage to strengthen their political dialogue and diplomatic consultations, by increasing the frequency of high-level visits and diplomatic exchanges, and by establishing shared bilateral priorities and agendas.
They reaffirm their commitment to a rules-based international order with the United Nations at its core and will explore opportunities for cooperation in multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, to promote and strengthen effective multilateralism, including the promotion of tolerance and human rights.
The two sides will work together in facilitating efforts to promote tolerance, combat international crime, extremism and terrorism, and to jointly work on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Both countries also envisage to explore cooperation in their humanitarian aid and relief efforts and will look into opportunities for exchange of views in international development in areas of common interest in developing countries and regions.
Economy, Energy, Trade, Direct Investment and Sectoral Partnerships
Both countries envisage to establish a closer economic relationship and work to remove regulatory obstacles and develop a more enabling environment for businesses in order to encourage a significant boost to the flow of trade and investment over the next five years.
A key instrument for strengthening bilateral economic relations continues to be the bilateral Joint Commission on Economic, Industrial and Technical Cooperation set up by mutual agreement and signed on March 11th, 1976.
Expo 2020 Dubai
Both countries agreed to leverage Expo 2020 Dubai that will take place from Oct 1st 2021- March 31st 2022 in Dubai, under the theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future", for creating and strengthening long-lasting bilateral business-to-business partnerships.
The two sides envisage to increase mutual investments and to expand cooperation. Both countries stand out as regional hubs and starting points for introducing products on highly affluent markets, where rapid expansion is possible.
In order to keep increasing investments that create broad-based growth, both sides wish to shape the underlying conditions to make their business locations even more attractive.
They also affirm their commitment to facilitating increased business exchanges among small, medium and large enterprises of the two countries, by setting a framework for a High-Level Joint Business-to-Business Industrial and Investment Partnership.
An increasing demand for qualified workers on the one hand and rapidly evolving and changing skills and competences due to digitalisation, sustainability, industry 4.0 but also globalisation on the other hand are present challenges for skills development, which will be tackled now.
Therefore, both countries envisage to cooperate in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET), with a focus on company-based training in order to support future needs of skilled workers for the economy. The involvement of Austrian companies with branches in UAE could support this in a fruitful way.
The two countries will pursue opportunities of collaboration to facilitate the exchange of best economic practices and knowledge, provide support for capacity building and development of an innovation-based sustainable economy, further broaden trade mutual support and collaboration in the sector of infrastructure projects.
Leveraging on the existing visa waiver agreement, the UAE and Austria will increase their cooperation in the tourism sector, and coordinate their sectoral policies by encouraging relevant institutions to sharing research, data, and market insights.
Both countries highlight the importance of information and communication technologies and the digitalisation of the public as well as the private sector and envisage to cooperate and to exchange best practice examples in this area.
They are also committed to working together to advance their industrial partnerships, with a focus on 4IR technologies.
Against the background of the need to fulfil international goals to combat climate change under the Paris Agreement and building on the advancement of their current and existing partnerships, both countries intend to increase collaboration in petrochemicals and the oil and gas industry across the whole value chain.
They also envisage to strengthen their cooperation in the field of renewable energy, including solar and wind, and, in particular, to explore possibilities for collaboration in areas of hydrogen-based energy, and other innovative energy technologies, in energy efficiency and conservation, as well as sharing technical knowledge, skills and expertise.
Both sides intend to set up a bilateral Hydrogen Alliance consisting in particular of the members of the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance and the private sector key players of Austria, setting up a framework of collaboration with respect to finance, research and development of new technologies, Export and trade.
Education and Culture
Both countries envisage to enhance cooperation in the field of arts, culture and heritage and increase ties between their education, academic and research organisations, increase cooperation on sports and youth engagements, and promote joint investments in the entertainment and creative industries in both Austria and the UAE.
They also envisage to promote increased people-to-people exchanges, especially youth exchange, with the purpose of fostering mutual understanding between both societies, engaging in cross-cultural dialogue, and strengthening cooperation in joint cultural programs between the two countries.
Building on their existing partnership in the field of Special Olympics, both sides envisage to collaborate on strategies for disabled people that aim to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all members of their societies.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries stressed their commitment to strengthening international cooperation to counter the pandemic through sharing best practices, in addition to scientific cooperation and to providing emergency medical supplies to countries in need.
Both countries envisage to enhance cooperation in the field of health and medical cooperation, to increase ties between their relevant authorities, hospitals, medical universities and colleges, and to increase cooperation on health courses and programs, and promote joint Medical R&D in both Austria and the UAE.
They also envisage to promote medical investments in both countries especially medical and pharmaceutical industries.