Since July 2008 the EU Delegation has been supporting the Gulf Research Center in a project on “Public Diplomacy and Outreach devoted to the European Union and EU-GCC Relations.” This has been named the Al-Jisr project on GCC-EU Relations.
The project has three main objectives. First, it aims to enhance public and well as professional knowledge and understanding of the EU, its policies and institutions among GCC citizens. Second, it strives to strengthen debate about EU-GCC relations and contribute to the future of policy-making between the two regions. Finally, closer links between the EU and the GCC will be ensured through the dissemination of information on the EU.
More precisely, this project consists of a training, research, workshop, translation and dissemination components. The use of these tools allows for a broad and complete promotion and understanding of the EU-GCC relations. Part of the strategy is to involve many local and European actors that will ensure the quality and the depth of the knowledge of the issues raised. It is believed that the strength of this project lies in the wide cooperation of different organizations which all have specific expertise. This approach allows for the delivering of the best-quality work on all components as this project will have recourse to each partner depending on its area of expertise.
The project aims to raise the level of awareness and knowledge of the EU, its institutions and policies in the Gulf where there is still a lack of basic understanding about what the EU is, how it is structured, and what policies it pursues. The importance was identified of rendering more accessible a maximum amount of information to diplomats and policy-makers who shape the future of the region and to the GCC citizens as future potential students, visitors or trading partners of the EU.
The project also strives to support the EU and the GCC in increasingly harmonising economic policies and collaborating in the design of social and political initiatives of international impact. The Gulf represents emerging thriving economic opportunities and is in a region that is of great importance in maintaining world security. Consequently, it is indispensable that the EU as a unified political and economic block work towards the future shaping of its policies in cooperation with the GCC.
The project attempts to identify new constructive ways of cooperation in addition to reviewing the current status of relations to see whether ties can be improved upon and/or where the main obstacles lie that have prevented cooperation from reaching their potential. The ambition of this project is to promote and renew the EU-GCC relationship which has become more and more intertwined.
The intricacy of the issues and challenges faced by both regions justifies a multi-faceted approach to improving the outreach of the EU-GCC relations.