Sharaka Research Paper nr.7
The aim of this paper is to point out the shortcomings that affect the EU-GCC relationships at the cultural level stemming from the insufficient or flawed understanding of the EU as a geopolitical and historical entity. The paper briefly outlines the main cultural biases influencing the European perspective of the Arab countries as well as the Arab perspective of the European countries. This discussion underlines how the EU countries generally do not view the GCC countries as constituting a separate region from other parts of the Arab world with its own distinct socio-economic and cultural dynamics. Likewise, the GCC countries more often than not perceive the EU countries as a very indefinite entity, usually referred to vaguely as “the West”. Then, the paper examines one of the most important magazines in the Gulf, al-’Arabī, as a case study of the different ways in which cultural issues related to Europe are discussed in the region. Some of the Europe-related articles from al-’Arabī which deal with the perception of the other are looked at in order to try to give the widest possible outlook of the main biases that still impede a fruitful cultural dialogue.