The Sultanate of Oman is a monarchy where the chief of State and government is Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said who has been in power since July 1970. Legislation is in the form of royal decree issued by the Sultan. The Council of Oman is an advisory council made up of the 84-member Majlis al-Shura (Consulatitve Council) elected by universal suffrage and the Majlis al-Dawla (State Council) which is appointed by the Sultan. Political parties are not allowed.
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.