The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) is one of the most influential regional organizations in the Middle East, comprising of six member states. These are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Like the EU, these states work incorporation in matters of international trade mostly because they have similar resources to export and similar import needs.
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However, this arrangement is primarily a trade rather than a political one, and, unlike the EU, each of the countries has full political autonomy. It has been suggested that the nations would best function if they were to operate as an economic and political entity like the EU, with members ceding some of their political freedom and sovereignty to the bloc. This would inevitably make them a more dominant force in both global politics and trade, just like the EU. However, this would not be an easy process, and there are numerous factors that need to be taken into account before such a move is attempted.
With a powerful political block in the Middle East region, it is easier to come up with home-grown solutions because resources can be mobilized within the block to deal with regional security issues rather than wait for the US and NATO to take action. However, this advantage is overshadowed by a series of potential weaknesses that would emerge were the nations to cede their sovereignty.
For example, despite the allure of a stronger regional economy, it is worth noting that all EU members were forced to bear disastrous consequences of the actions of a few nations in the recent economic crisis that crashed their economies. Ergo, the nations in GCC, as a political, economic entity, will be more vulnerable to economic crises because mismanagement in one economy could have far-reaching regional implications on the others.
In addition, such an economic block would require a monetary union. While a common currency may appear to be a good idea on the face of it, there are several challenges that are bound to arise. For example, countries with strong economies will be disadvantaged by their neighbors with weaker economies. In addition, individual currencies may be weakened by a regional currency, which may result in compromising local economies for the sake of the bloc. Finally, many of these countries have established individual trading relationships with international trading partners, and the bloc may hamper such connections.
Most of the nations are members of other trading organizations such as OPEC. Therefore, should GCC become an alliance, there may be a conflict of interest, and the economies of individual states may be negatively affected if they have to choose between old trading partnerships and the new union. At the end of the day, it must be admitted that there are distinct advantages to having a union like the EU. Nevertheless, in view of the aforementioned evidence, it is in the best interest of all stakeholders for the status to be maintained.