GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The status of the EU-GCC relations after “Brexit”: stalemate or future revamp?
Paper Proposal Text :
The phenomenon of inter-regional relations between regional or sub-regional organizations increasingly flourished after the beginning of the globalization. The interaction between organizations became, therefore, an essential instrument in international relations. During the last few years, this trend has been particularly evident in the EU-GCC relations. This paper focuses on the consolidated relations - yet concurrently problematic- between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council, with a main focus on defense and trade cooperation. If, on the one hand, this relation has been institutionalized through the experience of the annual Joint Council and Ministerial meetings, on the other hand, the main goal of a Free Trade Agreement between the two regional blocs is yet to be concluded. This is due to a number of reasons which are discussed and analyzed in the paper. The slow-down in these “bi-regional” relations seems to pave the way for a step back to consolidated bilateral cooperation between the GCC and single European countries, in addition to other actors on the international scenario. In this framework, “Brexit” seems to further puzzle the EU-GCC relations and rather consolidate the traditional liason between Britain and the GCC. This trend is supported by the recent visit of Britain’s Prime Minister to the Gulf and, notably, by her participation in the last GCC Summit in Bahrain. In the framework of Britain’s post-Brexit agenda for the improvement of international trade, Britain’s new foreign trade policy could perfectly match the new trend of economic diversification on the Gulf countries’ agenda. It is well known that improvement of trade relations is frequently reflected on other domains such as military and broader political cooperation. Undoubtedly, the post- Brexit Britain-GCC relations, along with other factors, could have implications on the fragile process towards an EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement, leading to a possible leapfrog of Britain over the EU regarding commercial, as well as military and political, relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council. The paper intends to provide a status of art of the current EU-GCC relations and to draw a possible scenario of the future EU-GCC relations taking into account the relations between Britain and the GCC after “Brexit”. Relevant scholarly literature will be supporting the analysis of the evolution of EU-GCC relations as well as primary sources collected by the author through his professional service will contribute to outline a final reflection on the future scenario of the EU-GCC and UK-GCC relations.