Category Archives: Middle East

BILATERAL RELATIONS
Gulf States
Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council
Iraq
Renewed engagement with Iraq
A Framework for EU-Iraq Engagement
Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013
Iran
EU relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran
Yemen
Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen
FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS
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EU relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran

EU relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran

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External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

EU relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 7 February 2001 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran [COM(2001) 71 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

The European Union (EU) has both political and economic reasons for developing closer ties with Iran. Given Iran’s strategic geographical position and its large reserves of natural gas and oil, it could play a key role in the future of the Gulf region. The Commission considers that a greater degree of democratisation and respect for human rights in the country would help bring about greater stability and peace in the area.

Reforms as a precondition

2. However, cooperation of any kind is conditional upon reforms being addressed first, for instance on the political front where:

  • in the matter of human rights, a regular dialogue needs to be established between the EU and Iran, which is alleged to use torture and does not uphold the rights of women or minorities or the freedom of the press;
  • concerning support for radical groups, Iran stands accused of supporting certain extremist groups such as the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the Lebanese Hizbollah and the EU is calling on Iran to establish a more conciliatory foreign policy – on which President Khatami has already embarked;
  • on security issues, Iran’s nuclear programme is a source of concern for the EU but a first step to allay these concerns was taken in December 2003 when Iran signed the additional Protocol to the 1986 non-proliferation treaty.

3. Similarly, on the economic front, Iran needs to pursue a policy of economic liberalisation as an essential precondition to any enhancement of commercial and economic cooperation between the EU and Iran.

Areas of cooperation

4. The Commission considers that, provided the reform process continues, it would be in the mutual interest of the EU and Iran to develop closer ties. These would be sought not just in the political and economic sphere but also in matters of the environment, combating drugs and immigration. The Commission therefore recommends that the Council encourages political and economic reform through:

  • more frequent official and unofficial bilateral contacts;
  • greater cooperation in areas of mutual interest and concern (such as drugs, the rule of law, refugees);
  • promotion of dialogue on human rights;
  • strengthening the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) dialogue by stepping up negotiations on regional security, weapons of mass destruction and nuclear proliferation;
  • seeking appropriate ways of developing contacts between individuals.

5. The Commission recommends promoting bilateral economic relations by negotiating a trade and cooperation agreement and keeping up the activities of the Commission-Iran working groups on energy, trade and investment.

Background to the EU’s relations with Iran

6. At present the EU does not have any contractual relations with Iran, but the first steps towards cooperation were taken in an agreement with the Shah which lapsed in 1977 before the Islamic Revolution. Dialogue in a specific area began in 1995, was widened in 1998 – following the election of President Khatami the previous year – and is now pursued at six monthly meetings held in Troika format.

7. This allows views to be exchanged on:

  • global issues: terrorism, human rights and proliferation;
  • regional issues: Iraq, the Gulf, Central Asia, the Middle East Peace Process;
  • areas of cooperation: drugs, refugees, energy, trade and investment.

8. In October 1998, in the hope of initiating closer relations, the Council asked the Commission to take up contact with Iran with a view to exploring possible areas of cooperation. Following a meeting in December that year, energy, environment, transport, agriculture, drugs control, refugees and human rights were identified as such areas. Although there is no financial or technical cooperation between the EU and Iran (other than in the form of a few humanitarian aid initiatives and a little aid for combating drugs), there have been working parties on trade and investment and meetings have been held between experts on drugs and refugees.

9. In 1999 Iran gained observer status on the INOGATE (pipelines for carrying oil and natural gas to Europe) and TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasia-Asia) programmes.

Situation in Iran

10. The election of President Khatami in 1997 and his re-election in 2001 helped improve relations between Iran and the EU. Iranian politics are characterised by a constant power struggle between the reformers and two major groups, namely:

  • the conservative centres of power, under the final authority of Ayatollah Khamenei, which control much of the judiciary, the security forces and the revolutionary armed forces and have proved their ability to obstruct reforms;
  • the minority “Islamic Right”, which draws its support largely from the “Bazar” merchants and shopkeepers, the Revolutionary Guards and militias, certain foundations and the judiciary.

11. President Khatami seeks peaceful civil and economic reform within the existing political framework of the Islamic Republic. The reformers have the tacit support of the more pragmatic hardliners.

12. On the economic front, Iran has a population of some 69 million and a gross national product (GNP) of some EUR 180 billion. The Commission considers the economy inefficient and centralised and in need of moving in the direction of a market economy and opening up to the rest of the world. A five-year reform plan was introduced at the end of 1999.

13. Iran has the world’s second largest natural gas reserves (16% of total world reserves) and third largest oil reserves (10%).

14. The EU is Iran’s principal trading partner, with roughly 40% of EU imports coming from Iran and roughly 36% of Iran’s exports going to the EU.

A Framework for EU-Iraq Engagement

A Framework for EU-Iraq Engagement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A Framework for EU-Iraq Engagement

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A Framework for EU-Iraq Engagement

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 9 June 2004: “the European Union and Iraq, a framework for engagement” [COM(2004) 417 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Context

This communication is in reply to the request made by the European Council in October 2003 for a strategy for relations between the European Union and Iraq. The appointment of a new Iraqi Interim Government and the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546 on 8 June 2004 confirming the transfer of authority to Iraqis and reinforcing the role of the United Nations offers an opportunity for the EU to support Iraqi efforts to bring a new direction to their country.

Under Saddam Hussein’s 24-year regime, the EU had no political or contractual relations with Iraq. The EU, however, was the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance to Iraq after the United Nations. Since October 2003, the aim has also been the reconstruction of the country, with measures aimed at providing employment, core public services, poverty reduction and strengthening governance, including Iraq’s democratic institutions. At the Madrid donors’ conference held on 23-24 October 2003, the EU (the Commission and the Member States) promised to make available aid of more than 1.25 billion.

Objectives

The EU’s objectives in its relations with Iraq go hand in hand with its interests, and both are focused above all on:

  • the emergence of a secure, stable and democratic Iraq, with a parliament and a government, elected on the basis of a constitution that guarantees respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • the establishment of an open, stable, sustainable and diversified market economy and society, and the promotion of equitable economic and social development;
  • Iraq’s economic and political integration into its region and the open international system.

To achieve a secure, stable and democratic Iraq, the EU must be prepared to continue to help the UN play a leading role and ensure that its actions to assist Iraq are well coordinated. With its expertise, the EU could:

  • welcome UNSC Resolution 1546 confirming the sovereign status of the Iraqi Interim Government;
  • engage in dialogue with the incoming Iraqi authorities;
  • provide EU assistance for elections, good governance, the development of Iraqi civil society and the promotion of human rights;
  • consider expanding its assistance to support security and implement the rule of law, justice and security sector reform.

To help create an open, sustainable and diversified Iraqi economy, the EU could:

  • promote resolution of Iraq’s external debt;
  • continue assistance for institution-building;
  • help Iraq develop judicial capabilities and regulatory and legal frameworks;
  • emphasise the need to address issues related to unemployment and poverty, help to put in place effective safety nets and address regional imbalances in the distribution of resources;
  • spread the idea that Iraq’s mineral wealth should be used to support these goals.

To achieve an Iraq at peace with its neighbours and integrated into the international community, the EU could:

  • use its influence and dialogues with the countries of the region, particularly Iraq’s neighbours, to encourage constructive engagement with Iraq and increased intra-regional cooperation;
  • invite Iraq to participate in the EU Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean and the Middle East;
  • consider Iraq’s candidacy for the WTO in a positive light, and encourage its participation in other international fora.

To achieve these aims, the EU has foreseen a framework for progressive engagement divided into three phases, in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1546. It will be important to ensure that the EU Member States work together on the ground, in close coordination with the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and other international bodies.

Phase I – Immediate action

After 30 June 2004, the EU could consider the following initiatives, until elections for a Transitional National Assembly:

  • support for elections, including assistance for the development of civil society, and the rule of law and for voter education;
  • informal political dialogue: if security conditions permit, a political dialogue meeting in Troika format at ministerial level could be held in Baghdad or on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2004. The EU could canvas the views of Iraqi authorities and engage in informal dialogue with Iraqi civil society;
  • the rule of law and civil administration: institutional capacity building;
  • positive engagement of Iraq’s neighbours, including adopting confidence-building measures, for example in border management and customs administration.
  • coordination on rescheduling or cancellation of the Iraqi debt and related economic policy conditions;
  • administrative collaboration for the re-establishment of the Generalised System of Preferences that Iraq enjoyed up until the Gulf War;
  • ongoing implementation of humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance;
  • opening of a European Commission office for Iraq in the premises of its delegation in Amman (Jordan).

Phase II – Post-elections

After the election of a National Assembly, a Provisional Government should be formed and a new constitution drafted, to be ratified by referendum in 2005. This will open the way for further cooperation and dialogue with Iraq. In addition to the action under Phase I, the EU could also implement the following initiatives:

  • contribution to reconstruction through programmes of technical assistance and capacity building support, in the political sphere (advice for the constitutional process, civilian law enforcement, etc), as well as in the economic and social spheres (good governance, public procurement, a trade, customs and investment regime, etc.);
  • formal political dialogue: a joint EU-Iraq political declaration could be agreed to institutionalise political dialogue, on themes including human rights, regional stability, the fight against terrorism and non-proliferation;
  • joint working groups in sectors of mutual interest such as the economy, statistics, trade, energy, transport, information society, human rights and the rule of law, migration and counter-terrorism.

Phase III – Medium term

Once the government has been elected, the constitution adopted, and the executive and legislature elected, the EU could take the following additional steps:

  • negotiations for a bilateral agreement on trade and cooperation;
  • assistance for economic diversification and poverty reduction;
  • assistance in the creation of a regional framework;
  • sustained assistance for the rule of law, democratisation and human rights;
  • European Investment Bank loans, to bridge the period between grants, which will diminish, and private sector involvement. Such loans could be part of a regional mandate to include countries east of Jordan;
  • opening of a European Commission delegation in Baghdad.

All these recommendations must be reviewed regularly and adapted to circumstances.

For more information about EU-Iraq relations, visit the DG RELEX website.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Recommendations for renewed European Union engagement with Iraq [COM(2006) 283 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

EU-Iraq Joint Declaration  on Political Dialogue of 21 September 2005, signed in New York.

Iraq International Conference – Declaration (FR )

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the consequences of the war in Iraq for energy and transport [COM(2003) 164 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 22 November 1995 on improving relations between the European Union and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) [COM(95) 541 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

Context

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was set up in 1981 and brings together Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Ever since its creation, it has been keen to establish links with the European Community, including a free trade agreement that has still not been concluded.

A Cooperation Agreement, however, has been in place since 1988, and is aimed at strengthening relations and preparing the free trade negotiations. Since then, the Gulf War and the GCC’s reservations on the text have blocked the conclusion of the free trade agreement. The Cooperation Agreement, for its part, has yielded only limited tangible results.

The importance of the EU-GCC relationship lies in the parties’ extensive interdependence in terms of energy, trade and investment. The EU needs energy supplies from the GCC countries, and the EU Member States in turn represent a major market for the GCC’s exports of refined petroleum products, petrochemical products and aluminium. The EU is also one of the largest investors in the GCC.

Improving relations

The Commission reiterates the recommendations made at the Ministerial meeting in Granada in July 1995 to boost EU-GCC relations. These include:

  • strengthening the political dialogue;
  • increasing economic cooperation and unblocking the ongoing free trade negotiations;
  • developing instruments of cultural and scientific cooperation to promote increased reciprocal knowledge.

The need to strengthen political dialogue arises from current shortcomings, such as the infrequency of ministerial meetings. The dialogue would provide an opportunity for both sides to better appreciate the extent of their shared political and security interests. The Middle East peace process and the Mediterranean policy could benefit from the strengthened dialogue, which would also enable the two sides to discuss the issues of human rights, democracy and the prevention of terrorism.

Given their interdependence, strengthening the framework of energy and economic interests can benefit both regions, since more GCC investment in EU refining and downstream activities would go hand in hand with EU countries’ investment in GCC upstream and downstream energy and energy-related activities. Obtaining a preferential trade agreement benefiting both sides and diversifying its industrial base to prepare for the post-oil age are still major concerns for the GCC. A free trade agreement would enable economic operators on both sides to develop cross-investments, pursue vertical integration and conclude industrial alliances.

The Commission also recommends that action be taken to improve mutual understanding, considering that relations have not produced a degree of contact to assist in the development of official links. It is therefore necessary to find new areas of cooperation and develop existing ones, such as information and communication technologies, scientific cooperation and the environment. For the Commission, a key new area is decentralised cooperation, involving civil society and non-governmental organisations, which could contribute to mutual understanding. It also recommends that a delegation should be opened in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

There is, finally, a need to improve thequality of relations to highlight the role Europe plays in the GCC’s economic security. In the Commission’s view, the EU-GCC relationship is so important that it cannot be left to take care of itself; it also adds regional value to bilateral relations.

Conclusions and recommendations

The Commission concludes by recommending that the Council:

  • reaffirm the strategic importance of a strong GCC;
  • reaffirm its commitment to the development of relations;
  • include the GCC countries in the EU’s strategy for improving relations with other regions, in particular with the Mediterranean area;
  • reaffirm its desire to achieve a qualitative improvement in these relations;
  • reinforce EU-GCC political cooperation at ministerial level.

For its part, the Commission undertakes to identify obstacles to progress in the free trade negotiations and to study the possibility of presenting a complementary mandate for negotiation on services. It must also make proposals for applying the Cooperation Agreement and improving mutual understanding through increased contacts.

 

Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen

Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 98/189/EC of 23 February 1998 concerning the conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen.

Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen.

Summary

The Agreement is based on respect of democratic principles and fundamental human rights and its objectives in the above fields are to:

  • promote and intensify trade and develop sustainable economic cooperation;
  • strengthen cooperation in fields related to economic progress;
  • contribute to Yemen’s efforts to improve the quality of life and standards of living of the most disadvantaged groups of the population;
  • take the requisite measures to protect the environment and ensure sustainable management of natural resources;
  • extend cooperation to the field of culture, communication and information to improve mutual understanding.

Fields of cooperation

In the field of trade cooperation, both Parties must bring their trade policies into line with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They also agree to grant each other most-favoured-nation treatment except in relation to preferences accorded under a customs union, free-trade area or a preferential-treatment area. Bilateral trade will be developed and diversified. The Agreement also seeks to improve the terms of access for products and eliminate barriers to trade, provide technical assistance, exchange information and improve cooperation in the customs field.

The Parties undertake to consider temporary exemptions from duty, tax and other charges, and to consult each other on any trade-related dispute. Yemen must protect intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights and ensure effective application of the principle of unrestricted access to cargoes on a commercial and on a non-discriminatory basis for international maritime services.

In the field of development cooperation, the Community recognises that it could make a greater contribution in terms of size and impact and therefore undertakes to help Yemen reduce poverty by developing primary education and training, better working conditions, water supply, rural development and better health care. Cooperation must be guided by a clear cooperation strategy taking account of the geographical distribution of commitments and accompanied by a dialogue to define mutually agreed priorities and pursue effectiveness and sustainability.

To demonstrate commitment to economic cooperation a regular economic dialogue will cover all areas of macroeconomic policy, including budgetary policy, the balance of payments and monetary policy. Its aim will be to establish closer cooperation between the relevant authorities in order to:

  • develop a competitive economic environment facilitating the development of small and medium-sized businesses;
  • facilitate contacts and exchanges of information, conduct economic dialogue and improve mutual understanding;
  • improve cooperation on standards and regulations;
  • strengthen management training;
  • promote dialogue on energy policy, technology transfer and technological cooperation;
  • support Yemen’s efforts to modernise and restructure its industry;
  • promote the involvement of the private sector in cooperation programmes;
  • promote cooperation on financial services;
  • encourage cooperation on transport and transport management;
  • establish dialogue and, where possible, provide assistance for regulation and standardisation of telecommunications and the development of projects, particularly concerning the application of telematics in the fields of education, health, the environment, transport and e-commerce;
  • promote investment by creating a more favourable climate for investors.

Economic and other forms of cooperation may be extended to activities under cooperation or integration agreements with other countries in the same region to contribute to regional cooperation. Coordination with the Community’s decentralised cooperation programmes with the Mediterranean and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is planned to this end.

On agriculture and fisheries, the aim is to modernise and restructure the sector with a view to the implementation of a national food security strategy, the development of stable markets, integrated rural development, the development of the private sector, diversification of production, reduction of food dependency, and cooperation in the fields of health, veterinary and plant-health matters, technical assistance and training.

The Parties recognise that there is a close link between poverty and environmental damage and therefore agree to give top priority to environmental protection. This will involve setting up administrative, regulatory and information structures for rational management of the environment, developing sustainable and non-polluting energy sources, encouraging regional cooperation and coordination and exchanges of information and know-how.

The aim of cooperation in the fields of tourism, science and technology is to promote cooperation, exchanges of information and development.

The Agreement’s other objectives include combating drug abuse, including illicit production of and trade in drugs, narcotics and psychotropic substances, combating money laundering and controlling chemical precursors.

In the social field, priority will be given to respect for basic social rights, focusing on measures to promote the effective equality of women and their fair involvement in the decision-making process, improving working conditions and social protection of mothers and children, improving the social protection system and health cover.

Human resources development will also be covered as an integral part of economic and social development. Efforts will be made to promote access for women to education, development of skills through closer cooperation on education and training and cooperation between universities and businesses.

Action will also be undertaken on information, culture and communications to improve mutual understanding and strengthen cultural ties. Cooperation will focus on reciprocal information programmes, conservation and restoration of monuments, education and training and cultural events.

Institutional aspects

A Joint Cooperation Committee has been set up to oversee the overall implementation of the Agreement. It will ensure the proper functioning of the Agreement, set its priorities and make recommendations. Regular contacts between the European and Yemeni parliaments are desired by both Parties.

The Agreement may be extended and replace incompatible or identical provisions. It does not affect the powers of the Member States to undertake bilateral activities. Its non-execution may mean measures will be taken against the other Party but this can be obviated by attempts to find a solution that least disrupts the functioning of the Agreement.

The officials and experts involved in implementing this Agreement will enjoy guarantees, facilities and legal privileges in accordance with international standards.

Information on EC-Yemen relations can be found on DG RELEX’s website.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision of 23 February 1998 concerning the conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen
Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen
1.7.1998 OJ L 72 of 11.3.1998

Related Acts

Country Strategy Paper for Yemen 2002-2006 (pdf )

Joint Declaration  on Political Dialogue between the European Union and the Republic of Yemen.

 

Middle east

Middle east

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Middle east

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Middle east

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Gulf States

  • Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  • Improving relations between the EU and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

Iraq

  • Renewed engagement with Iraq
  • A Framework for EU-Iraq Engagement
  • Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Iran

  • EU relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran

Yemen

  • Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Yemen

FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

  • Financing instrument for development cooperation – DCI (2007-2013)
  • Financing instrument for cooperation with industrialised and other high-income countries and territories (2007-2013)

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety

Renewed engagement with Iraq

Renewed engagement with Iraq

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Renewed engagement with Iraq

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Renewed engagement with Iraq

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 7 June 2006: Recommendations for renewed European Union engagement with Iraq [COM(2006) 283 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission has proposed renewed EU engagement with Iraq based on its evaluation of the situation in Iraq and of relations between the two partners since the Framework for Engagement drawn up in 2004.

The political and constitutional process in Iraq has made progress, with the formation of the first Government, the 2005 elections and the new constitution. This notwithstanding, Iraq still faces instability, political tensions, and a deteriorating security environment.

In this context, the determinant factors for increased EU engagement are security and respect for the ethnic and religious communities in the political process.

Challenges For Iraq

The main challenges facing the new Iraqi government are interdependent, and are both political and economic in nature. The response to these challenges must be geared to benefiting the population at large and must therefore focus on better administration, economic stability and sustainable growth in order to consolidate democracy and stimulate the economy.

Consolidating democracy and strengthening civil society

Strengthening the democratic foundations of the country is essential to the continued pursuit of the political process of democratisation. The scheduled local and regional elections and the constitutional review process must go hand in hand with a stronger and more active civil society and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

National cohesion requires respect for the ethnic and religious communities. The choice of model of governance and how it is applied within the public administration will be crucial, as the formation of a national unity government has already shown. Nonetheless, national reconciliation remains essential, especially in order to safeguard Iraq’s territorial integrity and prevent negative repercussions in neighbouring states.

Security and the rule of law are indissociable and need to be strengthened. The insecurity generated by sectarian-based violence, the impotence of the security forces, organised crime and street violence has caused widespread internal migration. Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) initiatives to combat violations of human rights, stop the displacement of whole communities and restore confidence are therefore essential.

Achieving the basis for sustainable economic development

Economic recovery presupposes viable basic services and the creation of employment opportunities and income generation activities. The knock-on effects will be felt in improved security and quality of life and a better utilisation of the country’s human capital.

Establishing a functioning administrative framework will make for good economic management, the provision of essential public services and the development and implementation of public policies. Reforming the public administration, with the support of the international community, will make it possible to modernise the civil service and enhance its competence and capabilities.

The country’s economic development needs to be based on:

  • its energy resources. Iraq’s large reserves of oil and natural gas remain largely unexploited (problems include aging infrastructures and outmoded techniques, lack of transparency, looting and trafficking), while heavy dependency on oil revenues makes the country very vulnerable to external economic factors;
  • economic diversification as a factor of prosperity. Water and agriculture are sectors that could generate income, create jobs and encourage investment, but only within the framework of a secure budgetary and regulatory environment.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EU SUPPORT

Iraq is a country rich in human, natural and cultural resources, which can serve as a foundation for stability and prosperity.

A stable and prosperous Iraq is also vital for its neighbours and international partners, including the EU, for security, economic, energy and political reasons. In this context, the EU is well placed to support Iraq, given its geographical proximity, its international role and its experience in post-conflict situations. It can also make good use of such instruments as political dialogue, financial aid, cooperation in the domain of the rule of law and the relations it has developed with Iraq to strengthen its engagement with that country.

In the short term, the EU should, for maximum impact, focus its engagement on certain key objectives that can yield tangible results. Nonetheless, Iraqi political will and improvement in the security situation will determine the nature of the EU’s continued engagement. This engagement must ensure, moreover, that the EU’s actions and its support for the actions of the United Nations and the other international players are carried out in a complementary manner.

A democratic government that overcomes divisions

It is essential that the government and the administration reflect the ethnic and religious composition of the population. Respect for the electoral process is also another way of restoring confidence.

The EU will support civil society and national, regional and local institutions, and will work with the international partners in the political process. Its support could make a contribution to:

  • inter-community relations, and particularly strategies and initiatives promoting respect, dialogue and national reconciliation while at the same time combating sectarianism, and policies supporting a multi-ethnic, pluri-confessional administration;
  • Iraq’s territorial integrity and national unity, promoting regional cooperation and relations with regional players;
  • the constitutional review process, where the Member States can provide valuable experience, and including support for ambitious measures relating to public information and dialogue with the people;
  • democratic and parliamentary institutions, through measures such as technical and other assistance and exchanges and twinning programmes to build up capacity. Support could also include continued assistance for the Independent Electoral Commission and other civil society organisations.

Establishing security through the rule of law and respect for human rights

The EU is already involved in this area, both through the work of individual Member States and in the framework of EU instruments like the EUJUST LEX mission launched in 2005. Pursuing European security and defence policy (ESDP), this mission works with all the players involved to develop an integrated rule of law / criminal justice system.

Its experience can be used to underpin:

  • the preparation of a rule-of-law programme to strengthen the civil and criminal justice systems;
  • development of a culture of respect for human rights and implementation of international conventions while building up the appropriate capacities for safeguarding them;
  • disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration activities (DDR).

Nonetheless, the Iraqi government still needs to curb the militias and non-government militarised groups and to create a supportive framework in which civil society can operate.

Basic services and employment

Improving access for the Iraqi population to basic services (water, education, electricity, health and sanitation) will improve the quality of life and foster sustainable stability. The EU has made a major contribution to such work through Community aid and close cooperation with the UN, but the commitment of the Iraqi government to social development is indispensable, particularly to secure the effective use of the aid supplied. The Iraqi National Development Strategy adopted in 2004 could, once updated, provide a platform for the implementation of these programmes.

Employment is a priority, but it requires an environment conducive to job creation and the development of income-generating activities. This could be addressed by harmonising the various reconstruction programmes, encouraging job creation in the private sector, including in small and medium-sized enterprises, and promoting a diversification of the economy.

Mechanisms to pave the way for economic recovery and prosperity

The Iraqi government needs to commit itself to the economic reforms that will boost growth, development and prosperity, help put an end to corruption and allow it to optimise the use of its resources.

Dialogue, cooperation programmes, exchanges of experience and financial aid are all means through which the EU and Iraq can work towards this end, focusing primarily on:

  • the energy sector. EU action will support both the domestic and the regional framework. A secure regulatory and financial framework will encourage investment and help deter corruption, criminality and organised crime. The establishment of regional networks and technical dialogues for the development and export of oil and gas resources will foster regional cooperation;
  • economic diversification and development of an attractive trade and investment regime. The negotiation of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) that will bring Iraq closer to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the improvement of Iraqi access to the European market (generalised system of preferences), the engagement of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Iraq, and Community assistance to consolidate the Iraqi Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance will back up this process.

An effective and transparent administrative framework

Iraq must push ahead with public administration reforms (judicial structures, human resources, sound financial management, etc.). A ‘roadmap’ based on realistic goals and benchmarks will help the Iraqi government fulfil its commitments to its international partners.

The EU is well placed to help implement these reforms through experience from the enlargement process and support for building capacity and institutions in other parts of the world. In this context, the negotiation of a TCA with Iraq will be an additional area in which the EU can make a contribution, both by spurring Iraq to establish a functioning administration to manage the implementation of the agreement and by providing a framework for setting up technical working groups to support the exchange of know-how and expertise.

Context

The Commission’s 2004 Communication entitled The European Union and Iraq: A Framework for Engagement and the accompanying letter signed by the Commissioner for External Relations and the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) set out a medium-term strategy for EU engagement with Iraq as a response to the formation of the new Iraqi Interim Government and the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1546.

This medium-term strategy was aimed chiefly at the development of a secure, stable and democratic Iraq, with a sustainable market economy, at peace with its neighbours and integrated into the international community. The EU’s engagement has translated into:

  • support for the political and constitutional process (provision of expertise and resources for the electoral process and the establishment of the rule of law) and stepped-up engagement with the Iraqi political leadership (EU-Iraq Joint Declaration on Political Dialogue signed on 21 September 2005 [PDF ], Troika visits, and the June 2005 EU-US sponsored international conference on Iraq in Brussels;
  • strengthening bilateral relations with the opening of a European Commission delegation and an offer to start negotiations for a TCA;
  • contributing to the international engagement with Iraq by providing substantial financial aid, notably through the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, and by maintaining close contact with other key international players committed to supporting Iraq.

Related Acts

Declaration of 22 June 2005 of the Brussels International Conference for Iraq [FR ] [PDF].

EU – Iraq Joint Declaration on Political Dialogue, signed on 21 September 2005 [PDF ].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 1 October 2003: “The Madrid Conference on Reconstruction in Iraq – 24 October 2003” [COM(2003) 575 final – Not yet published in the Official Journal].

 

Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Strategy for Iraq 2011-2013

Document or Iniciative

European Commission – Iraq Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The Commission presents the Strategy Paper and the National Indicative Programme which define the priorities for cooperation between the European Union and Iraq.

The cooperation between the partners aims to:

  • develop a secure and stable democracy where fundamental rights and freedoms are respected;
  • establish a market economy and open society with resources to promote equitable economic and social development;
  • promote the country’s political and economic integration into the wider region and the international economic system.

The strategy also supports the country in its progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Strategy 2007-2013

The joint action programming focuses on three interdependent priority areas:

  • strengthening institutions and good governance;
  • socio-economic recovery, through education and strengthening institutional capacity;
  • water management and agriculture.

In addition, the cooperation actions must take account of the following cross-cutting issues:

  • human capital and competence building;
  • human rights, gender equality and the protection of vulnerable groups;
  • environmental protection.

Implementation

The level of political stability and security in Iraq remains insufficient. Furthermore, the implementation of cooperation actions requires flexible methods to be established.

Funding for the strategy is provided by the financing instrument for development cooperation. Funding from thematic programmes may also be applied for, specifically for the protection of human rights, non-state actors and local authorities, migration, food security and the environment.

Lastly, actions must be carried out in coordination with the Commission, the Member States, and the international organisations involved in the reconstruction and development of the country.

Sweden and Italy play a particular role in the implementation of the strategy given the importance and complementarity of their bilateral cooperation with Iraq. The two States shall continue their action under the framework of this European strategy.

Context

The EU and Iraq are progressing towards the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. This Agreement will provide a complete political and legal framework for promoting the development of the country, its stability and integration into the international community.

In 2010, the partners adopted a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy in order to provide a framework for cooperation on matters of energy security, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and of scientific, technological and industrial cooperation.

Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Middle east

Cooperation Agreement between the EEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Acts

Council Decision 89/147/EEC of 20 February 1989 concerning the conclusion of a Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community, of the one part, and the countries parties to the Charter of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf (the State of the United Arab Emirates, the State of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait) of the other part.

Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community of the one part, and countries parties to the Charter of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (the State of the United Arab Emirates, the State of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait) of the other part.

Summary

The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Community have drawn up a cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening their relations in a contractual and institutional form.

Economic cooperation should be as extensive as possible, not excluding any area. Here, and in the technical field, priorities are to encourage and facilitate:

  • diversification of GCC countries’ economies;
  • market research and trade promotion;
  • technology transfer and development, notably by means of joint actions and the protection of patents, trademarks and intellectual property rights;
  • the promotion of stable and balanced links between traders;
  • cooperation on standards and measures;
  • information exchange;
  • training.

In areas of agriculture, the agri-food industry and fisheries, the aims of cooperation are to step up exchanges of information and encourage contacts between companies and research institutions to promote common projects.

In industry, the aim is to encourage joint enterprises, develop industrial production and enlarge the economic base, and to organise contacts and meetings.

Information exchange is fundamental to cooperation for environmental and wildlife protection.

For energy, cooperation between energy companies must be facilitated, as must joint analyses of trade in crude oil, gas and petrol products. Exchanging ideas and information, training and studies are also part of energy cooperation.

Investment must be promoted and protected, particularly through agreements on promotion and protection to improve investment conditions.

In science and technology, research, scientific and technological development, technology transfers and adaptation, links between scientific communities and access to patent databases must all be encouraged.

Trade should be developed and diversified. The parties will study ways of eliminating trade barriers and will open discussions on an agreement aimed at developing trade. A common declaration on this matter follows at the end of the text. Pending agreement, both parties will grant each other the status of most favoured nation, which is the subject of a letter from the Community attached to the agreement.

General and final provisions

A Joint Cooperation Council is set up. It will periodically lay down the general guidelines for cooperation, act as an arbiter in the event of dispute and seek means of putting cooperation into practice. Its decisions are binding on party States, and its presidency is rotated between the EC and the GCC countries. It is assisted by a joint cooperation committee, and may decide to set up further committees.

Parties must exchange information and consult the Joint Council regarding useful information that has a direct incidence on the Agreement, or possible problems in the general functioning of the Agreement or concerning trade.

This Agreement does not prevent the conclusion of bilateral agreements, providing that they do not conflict with this Agreement. Its duration is unlimited, and if one party renounces it in writing, its application will cease six months after the notification date.

For more information about relations between the EC and the GCC, see the GCC page on the DG RELEX website.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 89/147/EEC 01.01.1990 OJ L 54 of 25.02.1989

Related Acts

Commission communication of 22 November 1995 on “improving relations between the European Union and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council” [final – Not published in the Official Journal].