Mar 142014

Sharaka Research PapersSharaka Research Paper nr.9

by Fatma Al Araimi and Cinzia Bianco

This paper addresses the way the GCC region is presented in the EU media and vice versa, in a time in which perceptions and misperceptions could influence negatively the consistent flows of international investments that are instrumental to the diversification of the Gulf economies as well as to the ailing of the European ones. The authors compare the most common stereotypes structuring the public discourse with the views of some journalists from Europe and the GCC countries gathered through a small but targeted survey and a subsequent focus group. The findings show a limited degree of familiarity and interaction, but at the same time having a sort of latent interest, especially with regard to politics and economics. They also uncover a different degree of technical skills and underscore a different level of diversification in sources. In the conclusion, the authors develop some policy-oriented recommendations to bridge this communication gap among media members and foster more accurate and comprehensive reporting, oriented at preparing the ground for mutually beneficial interregional cooperation.

Mar 052014

Sharaka Research Paper nr.8

by Cinzia Bianco

This paper aims at exploring how the European Union (EU) could contribute to tackling the socio-economic challenges facing the countries of the Gulf, thus also capitalising on the opportunity to inject new stimulus into its relations with the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC). In particular, the paper argues in favour of pursuing a strategic dialogue through a new economic framework focused on addressing some of the critical issues standing in the way of development sustainability in the Gulf. A special attention is devoted to specific rising sectors that, as drivers of soft power, could impact the mutual perception across the two regions. Against this backdrop, Oman is presented as a case study as it could be a significantly fertile terrain to apply this framework and, at the same time, the country has shown to be a peculiar actor in foreign policy, one that the EU should better engage.