The State of Qatar is a monarchy ruled by the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani who has ruled since 2013. The Advisory Council is appointed by the Emir and is only able to issue advice on policies but has no legislative power. The cabinet is appointed by the Emir and 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.