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The Helsinki Policy Forum work to provide a neutral space to facilitate informal, non-binding and regular contact between leading countries of the Gulf-MENA region and their counterparts in Europe in order to work towards a sustainable dialogue on peace and security in the Gulf-MENA region. 

At the sixth meeting of the Forum, it was agreed that there is a pressing need to look beyond immediate crises and begin addressing the region’s structural challenges. Central to these long-term challenges lies the question of how to realise levels of economic growth and job creation, sufficient to meet the aspirations of the region’s young people and therefore achieve sustainable stability.

As a result of this discussion it was agreed to create an Economic Working Group (EWG) comprised of businessmen; academics and economists from the Gulf-MENA region and Europe as well as representatives of International Financial Institutions in order to facilitate a practical dialogue on the region’s economic challenges and the policies and initiatives that are required for an effective response.

On the 24th of August, the first meeting of the EWG was held at Forward Thinking’s offices in London. This inaugural meeting of the EWG provided an opportunity to both review the current economic situation in the region and to identify an agenda and aims for future meetings.