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European Union’s Role In Gulf Cooperation Countries’ Policies

In this paper I will try to put on my reflections about the relationship between European Union( EU) and Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC).  Through this attendance I will apply the articles given below.[1][2][3]

GCC as a union, established later than EU. So to describe it according to European Union would be more useful for the reader. GCC is not a political establishment like EU. It founded in 1981, which includes six countries of Peninsula( UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrein, Qatar and Kuwait). The union provides its members easy trade among each other.

To interpret about GCC-EU relations only by checking one case would not be enough. To reach such a result, I will check the articles one by one then make a general comment about it.

The first one is a report that explains the trade relationship between GCC and EU. The second one elaborates a diplomatic crisis. And the last one also puts fort the economic situation of two sides in a more detailed style. With that sense we can imagine the relationship in various sides.

At the beginning of the report, Gulf Countries’ qualities are defined like that:

  • Monarchical
  • Highly centrally planned and controlled approach to development
  • Economies reliant on extractive industries
  • Extensive reliance on migrant workers
  • Nationals primarily employed in the public sector
  • Lack of water and thereby arable land for agriculture[4]

And whole the article goes along this framework. But it is questionable for me the perspective that how these factors are elaborated in the report. For example in number two, “being controlled aprroach to development” should be more open in the text. Because not all attempts to progress the country gives a solution. For example nationalization of factories was a policy to increase the income of the country. Through that direciton, to employ national workers got incentive and employing strangers penalized. Inevitably nationalization has happened but total work power decreased at the end. Because migrants had to accept lower wages. I call that situation as the dilemma of nationalization. While trying to increase the per capita income in country, the policies for doing that caused the contrary. With that point, it diffirentiate itself from other texts. There is no such a domestic issue in other studies I read for this paper.

So what is the role of EU in this frame? EU is looking for private sector enterpreneurships, and more sustainable investment in the area. But it seems difficult to put into practice all these offers without signation a trade agreement betweeen two actors.

On the other hand, I observe lack of planning in GCC economies contrary the report. In previous page I told that GCC is defined as centrally planned and aprroach to development but because of not being well organized, these development steps caused waste of production and effort. While extra production causing aggregate drag on growth, the workers who educated by th company established their own initiative or prefered to work for state. These are not difficult to guess before. EU had to prepare a list of measures to prevent such situations.

In a general view, I can say that for the workshop report it is showed in the article that GCC has good intentions to develop but to be able to achieve this, they need the hand of EU. I accept the rightness rate of this discourse but needing Europe is something created by Europe also. So unsurprisingly in a report that written by European Parliament I see a Eurocentric perspective.

When I check the article that elaborates also EU & GCC economies, I see a basic text that explains the historical process and current situation. Here we see that the agreement which is needed between EU & GCC is signed. So these two articles are complementing each other.

The article tells the details of this agreements. After checking the graphics and charts[5] I see a similar version of comparative advantage theory of Riccardo. EU need oil and market for its production. GCC is the contrary. It needs high tech production and market for its oil.  At first glance it looks ver nice and complementary. But it is not how it seem of course. In international relations, realism still wins. EU do not let GCC’s economic progress, by presenting the area cheap productions. Through this direction, GCC becomes dependent to EU, while selling its oil.

With that agreement, both parties could influx investments to other place.

The last report is about Qatar crisis and EU’s role at the process of resoluting that. Except, Quwait, the rest four countries of GCC got sanctions to Qatar. This is an interesting example both for diplomatic and economic relations between EU & GCC.

We see that UK and France had used more diplomatic ways than Germany. Germany prefered to be in the region bodily through the mediation process. Because all these European countries have economic interests in the region. So such sanctions would affect their trade rates at international level. So any European country had a struggle in their own style.



  • Adrıana Kalıcka-Mıkołajczyk*, Towards A New Comprehensıve Partnershıp – Economıc And Trade Relatıons Between The Gulf Cooperatıon Council And The European Union


  • REPORT, Europe and The Gulf Crisis, Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Stasa Salacanin*, 4 September 2017


  • WORKSHOP, Trade and Economic relations between the EU and the GCC Countries, Directorate-General For External Polıcıes Polıcy Department, European Parliament


[1] For the Committee on International Trade (INTA) WORKSHOP Trade and Economic relations  between the EU and the GCC countries , designed by European Parliament, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 Brussels, Altiero Spinelli (ASP) building, room 5G2 15.00 – 18.30

[2] Europe and Gulf Crisis Report, prepared by AlJazeera Center for Studies


[4] …workshop, p.11

[5] To see the chart, please check Wroclaw Review p. 29