New Danish envoy looks to bring renewable energy expertise to UAE

Danish ambassador to the UAE, Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin speaks during an interview at the Embassy in Abu Dhabi.-Photo by Ryan Lim/ Khaleej Times
Danish ambassador to the UAE, Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin speaks during an interview at the Embassy in Abu Dhabi.-Photo by Ryan Lim/ Khaleej Times

Abu Dhabi - He was also the special representative of the European Union to Afghanistan.



By Anjana Sankar

Published: Thu 13 Sep 2018, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Sep 2018, 9:03 PM

Rocket attacks, targeted bombings and violent deaths - the new Danish ambassador to the UAE, Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin has seen it all in his previous assignment in Afghanistan.
He was the special representative of the European Union to Afghanistan when the UAE's ambassador to the country, Juma Al Kaabi, and five other UAE diplomats were killed in a bomb attack in Kandahar in 2017.
"Unfortunately, I have experienced violence and direct attacks. I have seen the death of many people who I knew closely. But that is part of your life when you work as a diplomat in a country like Afghanistan," Melbin told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview.
As the new Danish ambassador to the UAE, Melbin's top priority for national security and counter-terrorism is evident when he speaks about the need to bolster defence cooperation between the two countries.
"Denmark and the UAE are both small countries. Both have understood that it is necessary to have a strong professional armed forces with full capability in order to take care of the security needs. I think it is becoming increasingly necessary as the world order is changing. We are living in a world where it is getting more and more difficult for small countries," said Melbin, who took charge early September.
An ex-lawyer who taught university students, the new envoy is also pushing hard on expanding cooperation in the fields of business and trade relations, economic and technical cooperation, police and justice system and people to people relations.
As many as 2,500 Danish citizens are currently living in the UAE. Around 200 companies, including industrial giants like Maersk shipping, pharmaceutical company leading in Diabetic care, Novo Nordisk, are doing business in the emirate. "The total exports to the UAE currently touches $5 billion dollars if you include the services provided by various consultancies and sub-suppliers," said the ambassador.
Melbin is also hopeful of bringing Denmark's expertise in renewable energy technologies to the UAE.
"We are trying to bring a consortium of Danish companies that is proposing to turn the UAE's high-rises into green buildings. The UAE has a great potential for retrofitting its buildings with more energy-efficient technologies," said the envoy.
He said that he was impressed by the UAE's forward-looking policies in making its energy resources more resilient. "You have a lot of oil resources. But water is a limited strategic resource here in the UAE. It is impressive to see UAE adapting a decentralised uplink of energy networks to tap into renewable sources. We are looking at strategic partnership in this area."
Encouraging more Emirati tourists to Denmark is also something Melbin said, he would like to focus on. "Around 360,000 Danish businessmen and tourists fly to the UAE annually. We have only some Emirati tourists, but we would like to have more. We are working on it."
anjana@khaleejtimes.com
 


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