Brussels, 22 February 2022 (TDI): Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs headed the 26th EU-Gulf Cooperation Council joint council and ministerial meeting. For the first time in 5 years, the Joint Council of the EU-GCC is being held in Brussels.

Notably, top European Union and GCC officials underlined their intention to deepen and strengthen their relations. This relation includes the 27-member European bloc and the six-member GCC. 

Moreover, EU High Representative Josep Borrell declared they are both going to chair an important meeting of the EU and the GCC.

He added that it shows the importance of the Gulf. Not because they have security concerns related to energy, but because on a permanent basis the EU has to engage more. 

Borrell ‘s statement came during a joint news conference with the Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan. Saudi Arabia is the current chair of the GCC.

Borell continued that the EU is the first investor in the region and second trade partner. But politically, they are not at the same level. 

Nevertheless, he added that their relations have to be enhanced and he thinks this is a good moment to do so. Lastly, he stressed that this is going to be the first step for stronger and deeper relations. 

Saudi Minster’s Remarks 

On his part, the Saudi foreign minister expressed his appreciation to Borrell for hosting the 26th EU-GCC joint commission. 

Prince Farhan declared that they have strong relations on the economic side. Yet, it is important that they continue these high-level consultations. 

On the other hand, Prince Faisal said that they will be talking about regional security and international peace.  But also the agenda that is the most important, which is international cooperation vis-à-vis climate change. 

Nevertheless, vis-à-vis energy security but also deepening their strong bonds and ties between their two blocs. Borrell said he hopes to release the new joint communiqué (strategy) on relations between the GCC and the EU later.

He also announced that the EU is going to appoint a special representative for the Gulf. Furthermore,adding that security issues in the region and the Middle East are very important for them.

Finally, Prince Faisal said they are closely following the ongoing talks on the Iran nuclear deal. He also noted that the EU has an important role to play in the security of the Gulf. The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.