The European Union hopes that European small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can help the UAE and other countries in the GCC reach their aims of developing smart, sustainable cities, according to EU Trade Counsellor Tania Mielikki Sateri.
Speaking at GITEX Technology Week in Dubai – where the EU as an organisation is participating for the first time – Sateri said that the EU is examining what it can offer to help regional economies diversify their economies.
“In Europe, for example, sustainable development is something that governments have been investing in for a long time,” she said. “We have common issues, such as the environment and sustainable development. Europe is a frontrunner in this respect.”
The EU’s delegation at GITEX includes 15 SMEs that have been hand-picked from thousands as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, which offers EU SMEs the opportunity to commercialise their innovations through participation at major international trade fairs. The companies are drawn from a variety of EU member countries and sectors, ranging from companies that are involved in the construction of photovoltaic building materials to cybersecurity, wearable-tech and cloud services.
“Historically, the main exports from the EU have been machinery, airplanes, transport machinery,” she added. “Of course, with this diversification we think there can be more. With technology, what these companies are producing can assist local companies.”
Another EU Trade Counsellor, Wolfgang Penzias, said that the sorts of technology that the participating EU SMEs are “critical” for governments such as that of the UAE.
“More efficient services is one of the key components of an efficient city, or an efficient country, and we are trying to contribute to that by giving them (GCC governments) good examples of selected companies that have good solutions used by us,” he said.
Sateri added that an additional 15 EU SMEs will be represented at Arab Health in Dubai in January.
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