Jul 312013

Sharaka Research PapersSharaka Research Paper nr.4

by Rym Ayadi and Willem Pieter de Groen, with contributions from Ales Chmelar and Elina Pyykkö

The financial services sector plays a pivotal role in the quest of the GCC countries to diversify their economies. While the sector is dominated by commercial banks that provide traditional banking services, non-bank financial institutions, insurance and capital markets are still underdeveloped, albeit with significant differences between the individual countries. Despite efforts to revise the regulatory and supervisory frameworks in recent years, the GCC countries have not been able catch up with the more developed EU financial markets. This paper, writeen by the CEPS team for the Sharaka project, provides an overview of banking and insurance in the GCC countries in comparison with the EU27, assesses regulatory reforms and the degree of convergence, and provides recommendations to strengthen EU-GCC cooperation and integration in financial markets.

Jul 042013

Sharaka Research Paper nr.3

by Abdulaziz Al-Shalabi, Nicolas Cottret and Emanuela Menichetti

Energy remains central to GCC-EU relations: in fact, fossil fuels remain the most traded product, due to the proximity of the regions and the complementarity of their energy production and consumption patterns. Having a third of the world’s oil reserves, GCC countries have paid little attention to their domestic energy consumption. However, the rising cost of electricity production and the relative shortage in gas production are changing the governments’ strategies: they recognize the importance of diversifying local energy supplies, and are moving towards market reform and a sustainable energy mix. They are actively working on expanding existing production capacities in order to meet current and future electricity and water demands. Renewable energy and energy efficiency present excellent opportunities for GCC-EU cooperation and partnership. This report aims to identify areas of potential cooperation in the fields of energy, the environment and climate change. It is based on analysis of primary and secondary data emerging from the contributions and knowledge of EU/GCC stakeholders.