Bahrain for EU-type union
Bahrain for EU-type union
Suad Hamada / 12 May 2012
Gulf leaders will discuss a proposal for a closer political union, which Bahrain said could be modelled on the European Union.Minister of State of Information Sameera Rajab said in a report published in Manama-based Al Watan newspaper that the union idea will be on the agenda of the consultative summit of the GCC countries to be hosted by Riyadh on Monday.
Rajab said the union, first put forward in December by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, could begin with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. “This union could start with two or three” members, she said.
The Bahrain minister said the proposed union could be similar to the European Union, but with due consideration to regional differences. “A union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia is a progressive step in the integration journey between GCC countries. It will be similar to the European Union but not a copy of it,” she said.
“In Bahrain, we support setting up a Gulf union to protect us from the threats facing the region on the political, economic, security and military fronts,” she said.
According to her, the union project could be compared with international ones for its strength as GCC countries share many things in common. She said the union could ultimately become a world power. The GCC said in May last year that it may admit the Arab monarchies of Jordan and Morocco to the group.
Bahrain Interior Minister Lt-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, during a meeting of GCC Interior Ministers early this month in Saudi Arabia, highlighted the importance of working towards the union. He described the move as inevitable amid mounting regional and international challenges.
King Abdullah had called for the formation of a Gulf union in response to growing threats. “I ask today that we move from a phase of cooperation to a phase of union within a single entity,” said the Saudi king, addressing his counterparts at the opening of the annual GCC summit in Riyadh.
“You must realise that our security and stability are threatened and we need to live up to our responsibilities,” said King Abdullah.
Gulf countries have already begun reviewing the possibility of establishing a common police force as part of a proposal tabled by Bahrain. Representatives of the GCC Ministries of Interior looked at the proposal during their recent meeting in Manama. They discussed the foundations and principles to achieve a unified GCC vision of establishing a police force that aims to consolidate security and stability in the countries involved.