Bilateral Relations

Political relations

Consultations regularly take place at the highest level, and the strategic dialogue established in 2012 helps drive forward the bilateral relationship.

The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has met the French President on four occasions (11 July 2012, 15 January 2013, 16 January 2014 and 10 February 2015). The two Ministers of Foreign Affairs meet regularly, either bilaterally or on the sidelines of international conferences. Regular French ministerial visits to the United Arab Emirates help maintain intense, high-level political dialogue. The Secretary-General of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr. Christian Masset, is the personal representative of the President of the French Republic for the strategic dialogue, which is a tool for high-level coordination of our bilateral relationship and is held twice annually. The seventh session took place in Abu Dhabi on 13 January 2016. Since 29th September, 2014, Mrs. Anne-Marie Idrac is the Special representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development for economic exchanges with the UAE.

Economic Relations

- With bilateral trade at nearly $5 billion in 2016, the UAE is the second trade partner of France in the Gulf, after Saudi Arabia.

- The Federation is also the second commercial client of France in the Gulf, representing almost one third of our sales in the region.

- The trade surplus is the fourth for France in the world.

- In 2015, France was the 11th supplier of the UAE, and its 26th customer, according to IMF data.

- With 11% of the FDI stock, France is the second investor in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the 3rd investor in the Emirate of Dubai.

- The UAE is the 2nd investor country from the Gulf in France, representing 35 % of the investment stock from the region.

- The UAE is home to more than 600 subsidiaries of French companies, and more than 75% of the CAC 40’s firms are located in the Federation.

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Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The last Joint Cooperation Committee was held on March 11, 2007. The UAE have confirmed their commitment to closer ties with France and to raise the level of their cooperation in cultural, academic, linguistic, scientific and technical fields, based on a closer and balanced partnership.

Educational and Cultural Presence

The development of the teaching of French remains a priority. The number of students learning the French language is on the increase: about 50000 spread over 176 establishments teaching French as a second or third language.

The French teaching network in the United Arab Emirates is composed of four schools: Lycées Louis Massignon and Theodore Monod in Abu Dhabi, Lycée Georges Pompidou in Sharjah (with an annex for primary education in Dubai) and the French International high school in Dubai. 3600 students are enrolled in the four schools.

Two French alliances are located, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

University Cooperation

Important projects involve academic cooperation through the promotion of higher education in France, the dissemination of French expertise and know-how (engineering, agronomy, information technology and communication, archives, archaeology. ..) and the training of specialised doctors.

Several higher education institutions have been established in the UAE in 2006 with support from the UAE authorities, particularly the Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. The University of Paris IV-Sorbonne has opened a branch in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of 2006, which has been inaugurated on November 18 during the visit to the United Arab Emirates of the Minister of Education, Higher Education and Research, M. Gilles de Robien. Furthermore, Business schools INSEAD and HEC have been established, through partnerships, in Abu Dhabi, as well as fashion school ESMOD in Dubai.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi

At the initiative of the Emiratis, negotiations have been initiated with France for the opening in Abu Dhabi of a National Museum of Fine Arts for which the Louvre will provide its name and expertise, for a period of twenty years, as well as the loan of collections for a period of ten years along with other major French museums. An agreement between the two parties was signed on March 6, 2007.

Audiovisual cooperation

A regional audiovisual attaché is based in Dubai since September 2006.


Actions of cooperation are carried out in the archaeological field in Al Ain, Fujeirah and Umm el Qaiwain.

Based on the expertise of the Archaeological Advisory Commission for research abroad, the Foreign Affairs department (DGCID) subsidizes nearly 160 archaeological missions (of paleontology at the medieval period) intervening in 65 countries, including:

Site excavation Mleiha: The pre-Islamic period in the recent peninsula of Oman.
Site excavation Abu Dhabi - Hili: An oasis of the Bronze Age.

Legal and judicial cooperation

Our legal and judicial cooperation with the UAE has been raised at the federal level in January 2002, thanks to the signing of a new agreement between the Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature (ENM) and the Federal Institute of Abu Dhabi, in addition to the one signed in 1997 with the Judicial Institute of Dubai. On the other hand, cooperation in administrative matters focusing on the training of diplomats and administrators has been initiated at the beginning of September 2002 between ENA-IIAP and the Institute of Administrative Development of Abu Dhabi.

Medical Cooperation

The revival of our medical cooperation is based on the recognition of our progressive degrees of medicine and medical sub-specialisation and should materialize in various institutional operations of cooperation in priority areas: cancer, immunology and medical genetics, medical pre-hospital emergency.

publié le 09/05/2017

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