The State of Kuwait is a constitutional emirate headed by the Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jabr al-Sabah. The legal system is based on the constitution of 1962, subject to amendments and suspensions by emiri decree. The 50-member National Assembly is directly elected by universal suffrage and has legislative powers. The Council of Ministers makes up the government and is answerable to the emir and the National Assembly. Political parties are not allowed although there are various political groupings in the National Assembly.
Over the years, the EU has forged constructive political dialogue with members of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). These countries are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.
The Cooperation Agreement, which was concluded in 1988, forms the basis for the relationship that aims at:
- strengthening the stability in the strategically important region;
- facilitating the political and economic relations;
- broadening economic and technical cooperation;
- further broadening cooperation on energy, industry, trade and services, agriculture, fisheries, investment, science, technology and environment.
Every year, EU foreign ministers meet their GCC counterparts to hold talks on pressing issues. In addition, expert groups have been established to tackle sectoral matters such as macroeconomic questions and energy cooperation.
Cooperation between universities, business and the media also form part of the EU-GCC agenda.