The meeting between the Saudi crown prince and Macron bodes well for a Europe in need of energy

PARIS: What can Saudi Arabia do to help France mitigate the impending energy crisis resulting from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, and what can France – and Europe – do to support Saudi Arabia? and the Gulf countries if the Iranian nuclear deal falls through? ?

These questions, potential political emergencies, weigh heavily on the talks in Paris between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron. During their meeting, the two leaders will strive to find solutions.

David Rigoulet-Roze, associate researcher at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations, believes that the Crown Prince’s visit “is part of a resumption of contact with Europeans in general, in the context of the war in Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis problem.”

In preparation for post-oil, on June 2, the informal alliance of OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing nations, sometimes referred to as OPEC+, agreed to increase production by an additional 216,000 barrels per day. of the 432,000 bpd set in previous months.

However, this increase does not seem to be of a sufficient level to reassure Europeans, especially as winter approaches.

Efforts must therefore be continued to mitigate the effects of the embargo on Russian oil imports, believes Rigoulet-Roze. The natural gas sector is also under pressure, so “it is hoped that the Gulf countries will lend an attentive ear to requests for energy supplies”.

If the Europeans need to secure their energy supply, it is above all a question for the Gulf countries of preparing for the post-oil era.

“Europe in general, and France in particular, hope that the petromonarchies will be receptive to their requests for guaranteed hydrocarbon supplies. The Gulf countries, on the other hand, want to develop synergies with Europe on this subject,” Rigoulet-Roze told Arab News in French.

“In this context, Europe and France have expertise, particularly with regard to renewable energies, whether green hydrogen, solar, wind.”

When it comes to the burning geopolitical issues of the Middle East and the deadlock in the Iranian nuclear negotiations, the picture is not so clear. “Overall, it appears that the JCPOA renegotiation will be difficult to finalize and that is what the United States now thinks due to a proven form of Iranian obstruction,” he said. Rigoulet-Roze.

“It is in this context that US President Joe Biden’s tour took place, focusing in particular on the establishment of a regional security system in which Saudi Arabia would be a central piece, even if Riyadh does not has not yet agreed to the normalization of relations with Tel Aviv. , unlike other GCC members who are committed to the Abraham Accords.

The French and Americans continue to say they are in favor of signing a new nuclear agreement with Iran, but time is running out, said Rigoulet-Roze, adding that President Macron reiterated this point a few days ago during from a telephone conversation with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

France has positioned itself in such a way as to maintain a channel of discussion with Iran, because it is not possible to cut ties. Macron takes a similar approach to Russian President Vladimir Putin, believing that despite the circumstances, we must try to keep the avenues of dialogue open.

“This approach with President Vladimir Putin has been criticized because it has not necessarily succeeded and the same may be true with Tehran. But he considers that we still have to try,” said Rigoulet-Roze.

But if the Iran nuclear deal were to eventually collapse, what would happen the next day?

For Rigoulet-Roze, the problem is that Europe does not yet have a strategic identity, and is “not a partner” like the United States.

“We will therefore have to return to the strengthening of the regional architecture envisaged by the United States, with all the difficulties that this implies,” he said.

The United States would like to set up a kind of Israeli-Arab-Sunni NATO equipped with an anti-ballistic system to mitigate the growing threat of drones, even missiles, of Iranian origin, used by Tehran’s proxies in Yemen or elsewhere.

The United Arab Emirates indicated at the end of Biden’s Middle East tour that it did not intend to be part of any anti-Iran axis. The same message, in a more modified way, came from Jordan, according to Rigoulet-Roze.

The tipping point will only come when it is clear whether or not the nuclear deal will be salvaged “and until that is established, the various countries involved will find it difficult to clearly communicate their official positions,” Rigoulet said. Pink.

“The Iranians are blocking the process. It is becoming clear that we will not be able to finalize an agreement as we still hoped for in early 2021 when negotiations were restarted,” he added.

The French Revolution of 1789 saw France change from a monarchy to a republic, which came under the control of Napoleon Bonaparte 10 years later. After becoming Emperor of the First French Empire from 1804 to 1814, his armies conquered large swaths of continental Europe.

Another monarchy emerged following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, and Napoleon’s nephew created the Second Empire in 1852, becoming the last monarch to rule France. He was ousted and the monarchy was replaced by the French Third Republic in 1870.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, France maintained a vast colonial empire across West Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

France sided with the Allied powers in World War II, but was split in two during the conflict, with most of the country controlled by a collaborationist, pro-German government.

The country slowly recovered after the end of the war, but long wars in its colonies of Indochina (now Vietnam) and Algeria drove it out of those areas, and in the 1960s the most of the former French colonies had achieved independence.

France has been a full member of the UN Security Council and NATO since the end of World War II and played a key role in the creation of the EU.

France has a large Muslim and Arab population due to its former colonies in North Africa, and many of these populations suffer from social alienation and high unemployment rates.

The country has been the scene of unrest and protests over the enforcement of strict secular policies and controversial bills, some of which have attempted to ban the wearing of headscarves or traditional Muslim face coverings in public.