EU relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (often referred to as the GCC, but officially known as the CCASG) is a regional organisation, with six members: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Set up in 1981, its objectives are to enhance coordination, integration and inter-connection among its members. All GCC members are also members of the Arab League and Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are prominent members of OPEC.

Political relations

The EU established bilateral relations with the GCC countries through the 1988 Cooperation Agreement, intended to:

  • strengthen stability in a region of strategic importance;
  • facilitate political and economic relations;
  • broaden economic and technical cooperation;
  • broaden cooperation on energy, industry, trade and services, agriculture, fisheries, investment, science, technology and environment.

The Agreement provides for annual joint councils/ministerial meetings (between the EU and the GCC foreign ministers), and for joint cooperation committees at senior official level.

The Agreement allowed for the development of closer cooperation on issues such as energy, transport, research and innovation, and the economy.

The most recent EU-GCC ministerial meeting took place in Manama, Bahrain, on 30 June 2013, co-chaired by the EU High Representative-Vice President Ashton and Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa.

The EU Delegation in Saudi Arabia is accredited to five GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia). A second EU Delegation opened in Abu Dhabi in the second half of 2013 and covers the United Arab Emirates.

Trade

The GCC is the EU's fifth largest export market (€95 bn of exports in 2013), and the EU is the grouping's biggest trading partner, with trade flows totalling €152 billion, or 13% of the GCC's global trade.

The 1988 Cooperation Agreement contained a commitment from both sides to enter into negotiations on a free trade agreement. Negotiations have started and been suspended several times since 1990. Negotiations resumed in March 2002, but were suspended by the GCC in 2008. Further informal contacts have taken place ever since. The EU remains committed to concluding the agreement.

Industrialised and High-Income Countries Instrument (ICI)

The EU's ICI fund for cooperation with high-income countries is the framework for financial cooperation between the EU and the Gulf region (and other high-income countries). Amongst other projects, the ICI has financed the EU-GCC Clean Energy Network for cooperation among various players in the EU and GCC on clean energy.

 


News and Press ReleasesRSS

  • 02/04/2015
    Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Switzerland Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Switzerland <p>Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Switzerland</p> 04/02/2015 00:00:00 04/02/2015 00:00:00 04/02/2015 00:00:00 04/02/2015 00:00:00 2015040200 090126248ef49b47 N 090126248ef49b47 /statements-eeas/2015/150402_03_en.htm 7547 xml Y /statements-eeas/2015/150402_03_en.htm 2 /statements-eeas/2015/150402_03_en.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150402_03_fr.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150402_03_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Switzerland
  • 09/02/2015
    Main results of the Foreign Affairs Council
  • 21/01/2015
    Remarks by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington Remarks by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington <p> <strong>HIGH REPRESENTATIVE MOGHERINI:</strong> Thank you, John. You’ve said it all. As my first trip as a minister was to Washington, my first trip, my visit as a high representative for the European Union outside of our immediate region is in Washington. In think that’s natural and that is exactly because we work every day on common challenges in a very united and common way.</p> 01/21/2015 00:00:00 01/21/2015 00:00:00 01/21/2015 00:00:00 01/09/2016 00:00:00 2015012100 090126248e1e2a7b N 090126248e1e2a7b /statements-eeas/2015/150122_03_en.htm 17611 xml Y /statements-eeas/2015/150122_03_en.htm 1 /statements-eeas/2015/150122_03_en.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150122_03_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Remarks by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington
  • 19/01/2015
    Press release following the meeting between the High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Dr. Nabil El Araby Press release following the meeting between the High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Dr. Nabil El Araby <p>The High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini met today with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Dr. Nabil El Araby, in Brussels.</p> 01/19/2015 17:48:23 01/19/2015 17:48:23 01/19/2015 17:48:23 01/07/2016 17:48:23 2015011917 090126248e1618b6 N 090126248e1618b6 /statements-eeas/2015/150119_03_en.htm 11268 xml Y /statements-eeas/2015/150119_03_en.htm 2 /statements-eeas/2015/150119_03_en.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150119_03_fr.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150119_03_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Press release following the meeting between the High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Dr. Nabil El Araby
  • 30/11/2014
    Statement by the Spokesperson on the second round of parliamentary election in Bahrain Statement by the Spokesperson on the second round of parliamentary election in Bahrain <p>The holding of the second round of parliamentary and municipal elections in Bahrain on 29 November is a positive achievement, as is the significant participation of Bahrainis.</p> 11/30/2014 19:00:00 11/30/2014 19:00:00 11/30/2014 19:00:00 11/06/2016 19:00:00 2014113019 090126248d8c484b N 090126248d8c484b /statements-eeas/2014/141130_02_en.htm 10302 xml Y /statements-eeas/2014/141130_02_en.htm 2 /statements-eeas/2014/141130_02_en.htm /statements-eeas/2014/141130_02_fr.htm /statements-eeas/2014/141130_02_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Statement by the Spokesperson on the second round of parliamentary election in Bahrain

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