The relations between the EU and the OIC started to develop under the initiative of the EU’s High Representative Javier Solana following the first Danish cartoons crisis in 2005.
Relations were given a new impetus at EEAS services level in the follow-up of the 2011 “Arab Spring” developments. Following an exchange of letters between the High Representative and the OIC Secretary General, a very first EEAS mission to Jeddah took place in December 2011. First informal staff-to-staff talks were held in Brussels in 2012 and technical talks took place in June 2014 in Brussels. EU-OIC Political Dialogue meetings are held regularly during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week in September.
In 2013, the OIC opened a permanent mission to the EU, while the EU accredited a Head of Delegation to the OIC in 2016. Former HR/VP Mogherini and Secretary General Madani in the margins of the 2015 UNGA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim of enhancing dialogue and cooperation between the two institutions.
Senior Officials Meetings have been institutionalised since 2017 and further cooperation was launched with a number of joint events and resolutions in the UN Human Rights Council (High-level Forum on anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred in New York in 2017, Resolutions on Myanmar in 2020).
In September 2020, HR/VP Josep Borrell appointed Mr Patrick Simonnet, who is also Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the EU Representative to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).