Germany’s Ambassador to the UAE, Ernst Peter Fischer, hailed the strong relations of friendship between the UAE and Germany since the establishment of the federation in 1971.
He stressed that the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Germany will contribute to the opening of new horizons in order to enhance cooperation between the two friendly countries.
In an interview with 7Dnews, the Ambassador spoke about current and future relationship between the two countries, and participation in Expo 2020.
7Dnews: How do you look upon the visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to Berlin after 47 years of the establishment of relations between the two countries?
Ernst Peter Fischer: We very much look forward to the visit of His Highness. Germany and the United Arab Emirates have been closely connected since the foundation of the UAE. Already Sheikh Zayed was a friend of Germany and visited it several times. His Highness’ official visit to Germany will open a new chapter with more opportunities for both countries.
We have had a Strategic Partnership for 15 years. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed will take this opportunity to outline how we will deepen our partnership in the political, economic and cultural fields and beyond.
Both countries share a strong focus on future trends and have high ambitions: We plan to cooperate especially on intelligent manufacturing, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, as well as resource efficiency in energy, water and food and the green economy.
7Dnews: What are the most prominent agreements signed between the two countries over recent years?
Ernst Peter Fischer: There are many. But let me highlight one in particular. Most readers will not know that I am also the German Representative to IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Organization, based in both the UAE and Germany. Both countries have a particularly strong interest here. This is why I find our bilateral Energy Partnership to promote Renewable Energy and to cooperate closely in the energy field extremely relevant. Moreover, under the joint chairmanship of the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and the UAE Minister of Economy we have a regular exchange of views on how to enhance and intensify trade and investment – one of the backbones of our partnership. Some focus areas this time around were the fields of energy, infrastructure, science, education & training.
7Dnews: What are your plans to participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai?
Ernst Peter Fischer: Germany was one of the first countries announcing its participation in Expo 2020 in Dubai. Also, Germany is getting ready for an exciting showing at Expo2020. I am inviting everyone to visit our pavilion! It will exemplify how our countries and many others can build a prosperous and sustainable future together.
7Dnews: There is great cooperation between the UAE and Germany in the health and therapeutic tourism sectors. What are the most prominent achievements in these two sectors?
Ernst Peter Fischer: Germany with its advanced healthcare system has long been an attractive destination for medical care. Patients come from all over the world. I admit, we are a bit proud that the Gulf States are particularly appreciative of the quality of German healthcare facilities.
But, just as important, more and more German tourists are coming here. Germany is now one of the top five international source markets for the UAE reaching over half a million visitors every year. And numbers are rising.
7Dnews: Trade volume between the two countries amounted to US$ 13.45 billion in 2017. Do you expect an increase within your preparations to participate in Expo 2020?
Ernst Peter Fischer: The UAE are Germany's most important trade & investment partner in the Arab world. We average EUR 10 billion in trade annually. And there is room for more.
Expo 2020 will draw a lot of attention to the UAE and, therefore, is a window of opportunity to increase our economic cooperation and bilateral trade. I believe we will both profit. That is why we are here.
7Dnews: What are the leading German companies operating in the UAE?
Ernst Peter Fischer: Many of the 800 German companies active in the UAE have set up their headquarters here, often serving as regional hubs for the entire gulf region. We also have a very strong German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK).
Amongst these German companies are all well-known big players, from Mercedes to Bayer. Siemens and SAP are Official Premium Partners of Expo 2020. But I am sure you know: The traditional backbone of the German economy are our many innovative and quality-minded small and medium sized companies. Many are here. I cannot name them all. But I try to be in contact with as many as I can.