By Nawab Khan BRUSSELS, Jan 10 (KUNA) -- The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (SD) in the European Parliament Thursday called for closer cooperation between the 27-member European Union and the 6-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the sake of peace and development in the region "The Gulf Cooperation Council should play a bigger role in the future because this is a region where moderation, conciliation and mediation can take place," Hannes Swoboda, President of SD, the seond-biggest political group in the EP, told the Kuwait news agency, KUNA.
"Therefore Europe would llke to have the GCC as a real partner in the developing of the whole region," said the Austrian politician.
Earlier, speaking to a group of Brussels-based Arab journalists, he announced that he will visit Cairo next week to take part in conference titled "A common vision for a progressive Arab world" orgainsed by the SD group on 19 and 20 January.
"The development in the Arab world is an important development for them and for us in Europe. We want a specially developed neighbourhood relationship between Europe and the Arab world," stressed Swoboda.
He said he hoped that with the developments in Syria leading to the falldown of the Assad regime there will be a new situation.
"My guess is that in the next two or three months Assad will disappear," said the leader of the SD Group which has 190 members in the EP which is made up of 754 members. On her part, SD Vice President. V{ronique De Keyser, speaking at the same event, said she has visited Syria about 15 times in the last ten years and also met Bashar al-Assad several times.
"I am sure he will not give up till the very end. I hope it will not be a bloody end like Gaddafi. He will never accept a compromise," said the Belgian MEP.
On Egypt, Swoboda lamented that there has been no real social and economic improvement till now.
He said his group is ready to help Egypt develop an adequate social and welfare system.
Swoboda called for signing of trade agreements between the EU and Arab countries and for more support for industries in the Arab world and opening of markets.
He also called for the return of stolen assets from some Arab countries in Europe.
"Families of regimes and dictators took a lot of money to Europe. And this is the money of the people and we appeal to (European) governments to give the money back," he said. (end) KUNA 102054 Jan 13NNNN