EU expects FTA with Gulf by next month



“We are very committed to trying to do everything in order to really conclude this agreement still under the German (EU) presidency and of course under the Saudi Arabian presidency (of the GCC),” she told reporters in Riyadh at the end of an annual conference between the two blocs. Germany holds the rotating EU presidency until the end of June.


Earlier, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said momentum existed to wrap up by the end of the year negotiations that began in 1990. “These are tough talks but we are on the right track,” he told reporters. “I have the impression that we are bridging the distance between us.”

At  a press conference with Ferrero-Waldner and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal, Steinmeier was still upbeat. “Europe is the GCC’s biggest trading partner. It is thus that much more important that we reach an agreement soon” on the deal, “on which I would say we have worked far too long. Both sides not only expressed this intention this morning, I had the impression that we were near the finish line.”

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