Lessons North, South, and Asian Regions Can Learn From European Regionalism
The European Union is one of the most advanced unions in the area of regionalism and economic integration. It is an exceptional economic and political partnership among twenty eight different democracies joined together by their commitment to achieve a common objective. It is the tool through which many ideas and theories bordering regionalism in the modern world have been tested. It is currently being used to experiment new systems of political integration. The European Union is made up of advanced economic, social, and political structures among a number of the member states. Integration in any union depends on some very specific factors and conditions that promote continued cooperation from members.
A major contributor of successful integration is the similarity of the domestic economic institutions in member states. Member countries have economic institutions that are similar in their structure, policies, rules, regulations, and operations. These help remove differences that may hinder trade and cooperation between member countries.
States within the European Union have transferred some of their sovereignty to the Union which gives the union authority to make some decisions on behalf of members. Jurisdiction is divided up between member states and the union in areas that affect member states. These areas include internal market rules, some aspects of public health, and research and technological development among others. The European Union works through a mixture of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making structure. It has a standardized structure of laws that are followed by all members of the union. The policies and laws that are enacted strive to ensure there is free movement of people and capital as well as goods and services in the market. The European Union has seven institutions that govern its operations. These institutions are the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the European Court of Auditors.
The European Union is considered the best-arranged international organization in the world. It has supranational making institutions, foreign and security policy systems, agricultural and effective social policies that ensure its success. At the moment, however, the union is experiencing some major economic challenges. Its economy is becoming less competitive when compared to growing economies such as the United States and China. The economic crisis is caused by faulty industrial policies, the movement of capital and labor globally, and the worldwide financial crisis that occurred in 2008 (Feng, 2003).
The European Union has, in the recent years, been experiencing a complex political crisis. It has also grown less popular among member states and citizens. This is clearly seen in the low turnout in the European Parliament elections of 2009. The political crisis can be attributed to the decreasing political legitimacy of the union and also the complicated process involved in making decisions. (Acharya, 2004)
The regionalization of the European countries serves a major purpose in educating other nations on what to do when considering regional integration. The economic challenges being experienced by the European Union are common to other regions including North America, South America, and the Pacific regions. To prevent the crisis from getting out of control, these regions need to learn from the European Union to ensure that their economy continues to flourish and grow.
Political crises have been a major problem within the European Union with some member states considering receding from the union. It is important for states in any union to ensure there is respect for the sovereignty of every single state and that integration is aimed at benefitting all the parties involved. In the South and North American regions, some states have been feeling exploited and considered terminating trade ties with states within their regions. Withdrawal of some states from unions may at times have catastrophic effects on the economy of all states included.
Acharya, A. (2004). How ideas spread: whose norms matter? Norm localization and institutional change in Asian regionalism. International organization , 239-275.
Feng, Y. a. (2003). Regional integration and domestic institutional homogeneity: A comparative analysis of regional integration in the Americas, Pacific Asia and Western Europe. Review of International Political Economy 10.2 , 278-309.
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