The European Union's (EU) drawn-out trade negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could result in the first region-to-region free trade agreement. The EU's motives for advancing interregional negotiations with the GCC have not been primarily focused on creating trade, which is argued to be relatively limited for the EU. Instead, the EU's motives for continuing negotiations with the GCC are explained by the EU's geopolitical and ideational interests and to a lesser extent by interest group influences. We do not find, however, strong evidence of EU bureaucratic motives to negotiate with the GCC. Based on these findings, this paper suggests that the recent reawakening of EU-GCC negotiations can be explained by the relative increase in the geopolitical importance of the Gulf.

  • CIGI Senior Fellow Bessma Momani has a Ph.D. in political science with a focus on international political economy and is full professor and interim assistant vice‑president of international relations at the University of Waterloo.