By the end of this month, many Arab and European heads of States, Ministers and decision makers and the leaders of the business community in both regions will meet in Greece for the third edition of the EU-Arab World Summit. The event is organized by the Arab Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development – a prominent affiliate of the Union of Arab Chamber, under the auspices of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos and the Patronage of the European Parliament, in cooperation with the League of Arab States, the Union of Arab Chambers and many other significant organizations.

 The interests of the Arab World and the EU are closely intertwined, as we share the same challenges and opportunities whether on economic development and trade, climate change, irregular migration, or even security and stability.

 The Summit will discuss developing neighborhood policies, migration, climate change and energy cooperation, FDI trends and financial opportunities in the two regions, digital and knowledge economy cooperation, fostering transportation for levelling up trade and investment, in addition to the multi-level cooperation between Greece and the Arab world.

 The vision is to continue forging a deep and comprehensive relationship between the EU and the Arab World. We hope that efforts succeed to shape a new alliance that can address a very important question of the present: Why are EU-Arab ties today not as strong as they could have been? I am sure that it is well known that the reason is not the lack of initiatives, as over the last 50 years or so, we have seen and participated in a serious of strategic proposals. It is rather that the initiatives have not fulfilled the promise of hopes initially vested in them. We have paid more attention to shared ideals and less to proper execution.

 Among the several reasons for this, one can highlight the fragmented approach that have been looking to the Arab World as sub-regions, while what we really need, is a framework that encompasses cooperation with the Arab world as a whole. Yet this does not deny the fact a great deal of progress has been made.

 Nevertheless, there is an urgent need to revisit the approach adopted by both sides towards each other. It should focus on strategic goals and specific development issues pertaining to key priority areas for cooperation in education, digitalization and agricultural market access, and for investing in new technological solutions and creating the ones which don’t, why not?.

 We look forward for the Summit to address these issues besides other important cooperation aspects, including the mitigation of climate change, cooperation in energy and renewable energy, in digital transformation and joint investments in e-commerce, smart cities and infrastructure and many other vital development aspects.

 Even though both the Arab World and the European Union are facing some unpreceded challenges, we are sure that we are much better equipped to address them and the Summit is an excellent platform to demonstrate this.

 We are sure that it will be a very fruitful and successful event.