EU - League of Arab States Relations: Prospects for Closer Parliamentary Cooperation

20-05-2013

The League of Arab States, a grouping of 22 Arab states established in 1945, has the potential to become the most important regional organisation in the greater Middle East. The changes triggered by the Arab Spring have led to the reorientation of the League's traditionally conservative policies on established Arab political regimes, while the civil wars in Libya and Syria have highlighted the League's potentially constructive role in supporting transition in the southern Mediterranean. The organisation's newfound relevance has been recognised by the European Union, which has worked to enhance the once-limited bilateral relations. A milestone for the partners' cooperation was the second EU - Arab League Foreign Affairs ministerial meeting, convened in Cairo in November 2012, which resulted in a joint declaration outlining an ambitious work programme in a range of fields. In parallel, the European Parliament has advanced inter-parliamentary cooperation with the newly-established permanent Arab Parliament composed by representatives of national parliaments. While the Arab Parliament's role is still limited, the organisation has the potential to grow in the future, as the region moves towards more democratic structures of governance. This provides impetus for the European Parliament to be proactive and enhance its cooperation with the Arab Parliament. In addition, closer relations with the Arab Parliament would allow the European Parliament to increase its visibility and interaction with national parliaments in Arab countries.

The League of Arab States, a grouping of 22 Arab states established in 1945, has the potential to become the most important regional organisation in the greater Middle East. The changes triggered by the Arab Spring have led to the reorientation of the League's traditionally conservative policies on established Arab political regimes, while the civil wars in Libya and Syria have highlighted the League's potentially constructive role in supporting transition in the southern Mediterranean. The organisation's newfound relevance has been recognised by the European Union, which has worked to enhance the once-limited bilateral relations. A milestone for the partners' cooperation was the second EU - Arab League Foreign Affairs ministerial meeting, convened in Cairo in November 2012, which resulted in a joint declaration outlining an ambitious work programme in a range of fields. In parallel, the European Parliament has advanced inter-parliamentary cooperation with the newly-established permanent Arab Parliament composed by representatives of national parliaments. While the Arab Parliament's role is still limited, the organisation has the potential to grow in the future, as the region moves towards more democratic structures of governance. This provides impetus for the European Parliament to be proactive and enhance its cooperation with the Arab Parliament. In addition, closer relations with the Arab Parliament would allow the European Parliament to increase its visibility and interaction with national parliaments in Arab countries.