Experts and businesspersons called for fairer Arab-European economic partnerships in a recommendations paper issued Friday following the close of a two-day international forum held in Beirut earlier this week.
“[Arab and European countries] should take lessons from current cooperation and trade agreements to build more fair and just partnerships [that are based on] building relations with the entire region in addition to bilateral ties,” said the statement issued after the conclusion of the Euro-Arab Economic Forum.
“It is of upmost importance to attract European Union and European Investment Bank investments into common Arab projects approved in various economic summits,” the paper added.
It said Arab development funds should follow the example of the EU and finance regional projects mirroring what the European funds embarked on in the 1980s to achieve economic integration.
It also called on Europe to help advance educational systems in Arab countries in a bid to improve the job skills needed to develop Middle Eastern economies.
Reiterating calls by many experts during the forum, the paper called for easier access for Arab goods to European markets, and for aid to target improving standards of Arab products.
The statement also called on Arab governments to embark on projects for economic integration and facilitate movement of persons and goods across the region.
It called for the annulment of exclusive dealerships offered by European suppliers to influential circles.
The statement called for the application of equal opportunities among regional companies.
Syrian businesspersons participating in the forum said international sanctions on Syria should not affect the private sector in the war-torn country.