Italy–Qatar relations

Qatar Italy Rome
Italy – Qatar relations
Map indicating locations of Qatar and Italy

Qatar

Italy

Italy–Qatar relations are the bilateral relations between Italy and Qatar. Italy has an embassy in Doha[1] and Qatar has an embassy in Rome.[2]

Diplomatic visits

Then Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani visited Italy on an official capacity in July 2005 and April 2012.[3]

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano became Italy's first-ever leader to visit Qatar in November 2007. He held discussions with Qatar's emir over Iran's nuclear program and ways in which to boost bilateral relations.[4]

A meeting was held between Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in November 2017 to discuss diplomatic relations and the recent Qatar diplomatic crisis.[5]

Political cooperation

Both countries opened embassies in each other's capitals in 1992.[6] They signed a technology and economy agreement in 1996.[7]

Economic relations

Trade turnover between Qatar and Italy have dropped in recent years. It was at its highest in 2012 when it reached €3.4 billion. By 2016, this figure decreased to €1.75 billion. This is attributed to less imports of Italian goods into Qatar and a lower demand of Qatari hydrocarbons by Italy, which constitute most of Qatar's exports to the country. Nonetheless, bilateral trade volume is still relatively high, with Italy being Qatar's 7th largest supplier.[8]

Historically, Qatari investment in Italy has been insignificant due to perceived corruption in Italy by Qatari officials.[9] In April 2013, the Qatari government purchased Palazzo della Gherardesca in Florence for €150 million.[10] Investment relations started to improve in 2015 with the assistance of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who discussed possible investment opportunities with Emir Tamim bin Hamad at the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. Negotiations over-investment in the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena between Renzi and Tamim bin Hamad began two months later, but were halted after Renzi resigned as Prime Minister.[9] In 2017, the value of Qatari investments in Italy was at roughly €2 billion and was mostly centered in Italy's tourism industry.[11]

Military relations

Qatar is an important customer for Italy's defense industry. Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri reached a €4 billion agreement with Qatar's government in June 2016 to construct vessels for its navy. Also included in the deal were support services and construction of a dock. In August 2017, Qatar purchased seven navy ships from Italy at a cost of €5 billion.[12] A massive deal was concluded between Qatar and defense company Leonardo S.p.A. in March 2018 in which Qatar would buy 28 NH90 helicopters along with flight simulators for these helicopters. Shortly after the deal, Qatar and Italy carried out joint naval exercises in the Persian Gulf.[13]

Cultural relations

Cultural collaboration agreements have been signed between the two countries first in January 2007, effective starting October 2011,[7] and in January 2016, effective from 2016 to 2018.[14]

The Italian Embassy in Doha is active in organizing cultural events in Qatar, mostly at the Katara Cultural Village. There was an Italian presence at both the 1st Katara European Jazz Festival and 2nd Katara European Jazz Festival in 2014 and 2015, respectively.[14] In January 2016, as part of the cultural collaboration agreement signed that month, the Italian Embassy hosted the "Pesci fuor d’acqua" (Fish Out of Water) photo gallery in Katara.[15]

Diplomacy

Migration

There are approximately 1,500 Italian citizens living in Qatar as of 2015.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Italian Embassy in Doha, Qatar". embassypages.com. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Qatari Embassy in Rome, Italy". embassypages.com. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Cooperazione Politica" (in Italian). Italian Embassy in Doha. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  4. ^ Barbara Bibbo' (14 November 2007). "Italy 'shares Qatar's concerns over Iran'". Gulf News. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Emir, Italian premier discuss bilateral relations, Gulf crisis". Qatar Tribune. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Qatar-Italy Relations". Qatar Embassy in Rome. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Accordi bilaterali ITALIA - QATAR" (in Italian). Italian Embassy in Doha. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Cooperazione economica" (in Italian). Italian Embassy in Doha. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b Carlo Festa and Simone Filippetti (6 June 2017). "Qatar says will continue to invest in Italy". Il Sole 24 Ore. Retrieved 1 June 2018.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  10. ^ Silvia Pieraccini (12 April 2013). "L'emiro del Qatar continua a fare shopping in Italia: 150 milioni di euro per il Four Seasons di Firenze" (in Italian). Il Sole 24 Ore. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Italian Ambassador : Qatar and Italy "Partners in Fight Against Terrorism"". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Qatar). 3 December 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  12. ^ Aziz El Yaakoubi (2 August 2017). "Qatar is buying 7 navy vessels from Italy for $5.91 billion". businessinsider.com. Reuters. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Qatar, Italy launch joint naval drills to boost military ties". Xinhua. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Cooperazione culturale" (in Italian). Italian Embassy in Doha. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  15. ^ ""Fish Out of Water" Photo Gallery inaugurated at Katara". Katara. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Simply Italian". Gulf Times. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2018.