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The Strategic Partnership with the Gulf States: Exchange in the European Parliament

Wie soll sich die strategische Partnerschaft der EU mit den Golfstaaten in Zukunft entwickeln? Zu diesem Thema fand gestern im Europäischen Parlament ein interner Austausch zwischen dem Ausschuss für auswärtige Angelegenheiten, der Delegation für die Beziehungen zur Arabischen Halbinsel und dem Europäischen Auswärtigen Dienst statt. In der folgenden öffentlichen Anhörung sprachen Cinzia Bianco (European Council on Foreign Relations), Adnan Tabatabai (Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient) und Christian Koch (Gulf Research Centre), die von den Abgeordneten anschließend befragt wurden.

Als Vorsitzende der Delegation für die Beziehungen zur Arabischen Halbinsel habe bei ich beim Austausch und der Anhörung den Fokus auf die zentralen Themen in den EU-Golf-Beziehungen gelegt:

  • Kooperation im Energiesektor, insbesondere im Bereich erneuerbare Energien
  • Verbesserung der Menschenrechtslage
  • Rolle der EU für die regionale Sicherheit, einschließlich in Bezug auf ein Ende des Jemenkriegs
  • Auswirkung des Ukrainekriegs auf die EU-Golfbeziehungen

Common interests, for example in the field of renewables

The experts provided comprehensive analyses and recommendations. The following aspects were highlighted in particular:

  • The diminishing role of the US in the region opens up more opportunities for the EU to exert influence. However, the West is no longer necessarily a priority for the Gulf states: in future, China will also deepen its relations with the region.
  • Regional approaches are becoming increasingly important for conflict resolution. Iraq, for example, played a central role in initiating and continuing the dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  • There is a common interest in more cooperation in the field of renewables: The Gulf states also need to prepare for a time without fossil fuels and the EU is a pioneer in this field.
  • The governments of the Gulf states hardly react to public criticism on the human rights situation, but are willing to engage in dialogue in a discreet setting.
  • As a measure against the nuclear threat in the region, the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Gulf or, in the long term, in the entire Near and Middle East is recommended.

In any case, it was an enriching exchange with clear recommendations for action for the EU, which showed that both sides benefit from an intensification of EU-Gulf cooperation - especially in view of the current crisis situation.

At the beginning of May, the European External Action Service is expected to publish the strategy paper "Joint Communication on the Strategic Partnership with the Gulf States".

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