Awakening Interregionalism? The EU and Regional Arab Organizations Post- 2011
This article examines the region-to-region cooperation between the European Union on one side and the resurgent Arab regional organizations on the other. It focuses on the EU attempts to enhance cooperation schemes with the League of Arab States and the Gulf Cooperation Council, aiming primarily at investigating potential opportunities for a resilient and sustainable inter-regional cooperation between Europe and the Arab region on a multilateral institutional level. The article starts with an examination of the EULAS rapprochement post-2011, especially in what regards the innovative creation of an EU-funded crisis room in the LAS headquarter. Then, it moves to tackle the EU relationship with the GCC, which, by contrast to the case of the LAS, has been and is still suffering a lingering stagnation. The analysis tackles these attempts of interregional cooperation within the contextual framework of the transformative political and security milieu, which the Arab region has been experiencing ever since the outbreak of the Arab uprisings. It concludes that while the EU-LAS cooperation post-2011 is novel, the apparent continuity in the League’s chronic problems poses huge limits on the sustainability of the League’s performance as well as on the extent to which the EU and the LAS can pursue concrete cooperation plans. As for the GCC, the accumulated frustration of the poor level of tangible economic cooperation with the EU added to the increasing strategic disconnect between the two sides post-2011 are key factors that continue to undermine meaningful interregional cooperation.