The Gulf Cooperation Council as a New Regional Power: Time for the EU to Propose a Strategic Partnership

Item Reference: 
BRIGG 2012/3
Publication Date: 
Publication Place: 
Publication Language: 
College of Europe, UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
Series Title: 
Bruges Regional Integration and Global Governance (BRIGG) Papers
Working Paper Type: 

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a de facto regional power in the Arab world. Its role has been crucial in some of the outcomes of the Arab Spring. The GCC countries have been very pragmatic in dealing with the uprisings, avoiding any revolutionary spill-over throughout the Gulf region. This paper examines to what extent the policies of the European Union (EU) in the Gulf have changed since the beginning of the Arab Spring. It argues that despite the calls by the European Parliament and by the High Representative Baroness Ashton to improve the relationship, the EU’s support for a new policy in the Gulf after the Arab Spring is stalling, and little new or concrete has been achieved. The paper concludes that the Union needs a reinforced partnership that merges the various EU policies in the region into a single strategic partnership with the Arab countries.