GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Brexit: Lessons for the GCC
Paper Proposal Text :
The GCC countries have made significant achievements in the domain of economic integration since the project’s initiation in 1981. This is reflected in various indicators: for example, intra-GCC trade increased from $6 billion in 1984 to $115 billion in 2015. Throught the process, the Gulf countries have benefited greatly from the European Union’s (EU) experience, both as a positive example of what to emulate, and a negative example of what to avoid.
Some senior Gulf officials and analysts are now demanding the evolution of the structure of the GCC—specifically strengthening the central institutions, such as the Secretariat General, based on the experience of the EU. However, these plans are based on flawed analysis of the EU, especially the sometimes counterproductive role played by the European Commission (EC). GCC stakeholders need to acknowledge the effectiveness of the GCC’s current structure, and to appreciate the danger in treating the EC as a successful model.
In particular, the continual efforts by central EU institutions to strengthen their powers have generated a slow-brewing crisis that has existentially threatened the European project, with Brexit being the most salient symptom. In fact, a primary cause of the UK’s decision to exit the EU has been the Kingdom’s desire to break free from EU bureaucracy and restrictions which limits its sovereignty. The EU’s counterproductive institutional design is reflected in a variety of surveys that show that European citizens are increasingly losing trust in the EC. By more deeply analyzing the reasons behind Brexit, this paper aims to draw lesson for the GCC countries on how to avoid the problems that the EU is currently facing.