The Gulf and the EU: Partners or Competitors?
This chapter deals with a specific portion of the Arab world that has been cut off from the European Union, EU's Mediterranean policy, that is, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). By tracing the evolution of the EU-GCC relationship, the chapter pinpoints the divergences as well as the convergences of interests and principles that have shaped this partnership. While this situation has become more acute with the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the current changes in the common neighbourhood could pave the way for a more strategic relationship between Europe and the Gulf. The chapter contextualizes the current state of EU-GCC relations in the framework of the history of cooperation between the two regions as well as with regard to the country-specific and regional economic and political dynamics. It then focuses on the impact of the changing regional and international context on EU-GCC relations, also suggesting concrete ideas to foster mutual cooperation.