The new joint Italy-UAE development initiative, InnovItalyUAE, begins today with an aim to strengthen collaboration in areas of cybersecurity, space technology and energy.
Italy is looking to offset the $42.8 billion loss it incurred from declining tourism revenues as a result of the travel restrictions prompted by COVID-19. By partnering with the UAE, it hopes to accrue more cross-border investment and market itself as a vacation destination to wealthy Emiratis. Although trade between the two countries is not likely to rebound until the end of 2021, Italy expects its economy to grow by 5% next year after a projected contraction of 9% in 2020.
As the UAE comes to terms with the fact that its critical energy resources will eventually dry up, investment is likely to flow into megaprojects backed by Israel and the EU. Expect the bloc to lay the foundations for new oil and gas pipelines that facilitate imports from Gulf countries and the Eastern Mediterranean, allowing Europe to decrease its heavy dependence on Russian energy imports. In response, the threat of weakened influence in the EU could lead Russia to double down on its efforts to secure energy partnerships with other countries, particularly in the Balkans, in addition to grounding its position in the energy-rich Eastern Mediterranean.
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Ali is a Copy-Editor and Analyst on Daily Brief team, contributing regularly to the Daily Brief. He also leads the Foreign Brief Week in Review multimedia team. He focuses on political and development issues in the Middle East and North Africa.