The History (short) and Fundamentals (shorter) of Sea Floor ...

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The History (short) and Fundamentals (shorter) of Sea Floor Mapping Techniques Mark Holmes Univ. of Washington Mimi D'Iorio NOAA Monterey
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From EU Model to Policy? The external promotion of regional
integration


Mary Farrell
Senior Research Fellow, Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche International









1From EU Model to Policy? The external promotion of regional integration

Introduction
The European Union has evolved since 1957 into a form of regional integration that
perhaps was not even imagined by the European leaders that signed the Treaty of Rome.
A political and economic community has been created, with a governance model that is
without parallel anywhere else in the world. There is a European legal order that was
constructed upon the laws of the founding treaty, and enhanced by the amendments
agreed in subsequent treaties, buttressed by the national legal institutions and the
European Court of Justice (ECJ). The influential role that the ECJ decisions have played
in pushing regional integration processes forward has led some analysts to highlight the
very political nature of the community’s supreme legal organ (Alter, 1996; Burley and
Mattli, 1993).

Within Europe, law and politics have interacted over the decades in the formulation and
implementation of an ever-expanding portfolio of internal policies and programmes that
contribute either directly or indirectly to a deepening of regional integration –
competition and industrial policy, regional policy (in the Structural and Cohesion Funds),
agriculture and fisheries, social and environmental, justice and home affairs, internal
market liberalisation and the single currency. This is a representative, rather than
conclusive, list of policy areas, and for most policy areas there is a portfolio of policy
1initiatives rather than one single encompassing policy.

Since the 1990s, EU external relations policy includes support for and promotion of
regional integration and cooperation in other parts of the world. A series of regional
strategy papers produced by the European Commission set down the framework for
2cooperation between the EU and other regions. In the Cotonou Agreement between the

1 For a detailed account of the different EU policy areas, see H. Wallace and W. Wallace, Policy-Making in
the European Union, Oxford University Press.
2 So far, seven strategy papers have been issued, covering regional cooperation with the Andean
Community, Asia, the Balkans, Central America, the Euro-Mediterranean region, Latin America, and
Mercosur; two other regional strategy papers, covering Tacis Regional Cooperation, and Nuclear Safety
were released.
2EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, there is a strong emphasis placed
upon regional cooperation and integration. Since 2000, the official rhetoric around the
Agreement and in the subsequent meetings between high-level European Commission
officials and African delegations has reiterated the European intention to support regional
integration. In April 2005, Peter Mandelson, the European Commissioner responsible for
trade, spoke to the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Bamako about the
significance of regional integration in EU external relations, and particularly with respect
to the African countries. Commissioner Mandelson added that ‘regional integration, if
implemented properly, will build markets where economies of scale, return on
investment, and enhanced domestic competition become really meaningful and stimulate
3economic growth and employment’.

Growing interest in regional integration in different parts of the world saw renewed
attempts by countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa to develop new forms of
cooperation with neighbouring countries and, in some cases, to attempt to re-invigorate
existing arrangements. The EU model has inspired many schemes of regional integration,
4and the question of exporting the European model is an important one. The issue of
exportability raises a number of pertinent questions that challenge both the nature and
capacity of the EU external relations policy, and the notion of regional integration in
international relations.

Clearly, the exportability of the EU model can be questioned on a number of grounds. As
experience already shows, many countries have devised regionally-distinctive modes of
cooperation. In Asia, there are a number of regional organisations with different
objectives and concerns, variously addressing economic, security and trade issues. No
consensus exists among the Asian countries on the primacy of any one organisation, nor
on the relevant scope of activities or the geographic coverage of the membership

3 See European Union web-site, http://www.europa-eu-int, accessed on 2 August 2005.
4 It should be noted that the intention is not to suggest that all other forms of regional integration have been
shaped by reference to the EU blueprint – but it can be recognised that the EU has served as an existing
case-study and at times as a counter-example of what countries do not want to create. In practice, there are
diverse forms of regional cooperation and integrative arrangements across the world – for a contemporary
overview, see M. Farrell, B. Hettne (2005) Global Politics of Regionalism, Pluto Press.
3(Camilleri, 2003). In Africa, regional organisations extend their geographic coverage
across virtually the entire continent and many countries hold membership in several
regional organisations. Many of the African regional organisations began in the 1990s,
though the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) dates back to
1974. All the regional organisations in Africa had, and continue to have the objective of
creating some form of economic integration, while the African Union has extended the
list of objectives to include the promotion of peace, security and stability across the
continent (UNECA, 2004).

This paper will address certain issues around the exportability of the European Union
approach to regional integration, by examining three separate yet interlinked areas. It is
not the intention here to consider the feasibility or otherwise of groups of countries trying
to adopt a model of integration based upon the system the European political elites have
constructed over almost half a century. Rather, the paper seeks to make some general
observations about the European approach to regional integration, and it does so by
looking at one instance of internal integration in the form of the creation of the Single
Market. The second area under consideration is the ‘demand’ from regional groupings in
search of a workable set of formal, cooperative arrangements for economic integration.
This section of the paper will use the example of the African countries, and assesses the
potential and actual impact of the Economic Partnership Agreements currently being
negotiated between the European Commission and groups of countries within Africa. The
third area of the paper considers European regional integration in the broader context of
the global order, and the competitive regulatory systems that currently dominate
international politics.

If we are to consider the possibility of exporting the European model of regional
integration, then clearly we must reflect upon the relevance of this particular approach for
countries with their own socio-economic objectives, levels of development, security and
stability concerns, and often diverging political preferences among the countries seeking
to initiate and deepen regional cooperative arrangements. Some degree of consensus on
goals and objectives must exist as a basis for agreeing collective action among
4participating countries. It is, however, only a starting point to a process that is open-
ended, multi-dimensional, and complex. Countries do have options and alternatives in
deciding how to conduct their international relations and foreign policies – even if the
range of options are shaped, or even limited, by the circumstances of the individual
country, and by its political and strategic capabilities. Similarly, there are alternative
courses of action that can be taken in pursuit of such domestic goals as economic
development, growth, monetary stability, wealth creation, or social justice. In this regard,
regional integration presents one possible strategic option by which countries can work
collectively in the pursuit of domestic goals and international policy preferences. But
regional governance is also one alternative among many in the international policy space,
and as such must compete with global governance and even with the unilateralism of the
world’s sole superpower. The European Union policy of promoting regional integration
in other parts of the world, most notably in Africa, has therefore to be placed in this
multi-level frame of reference – the political and socio-economic conditions in the ‘other
region’ and alternative governance arrangements that can affect the willingness or
capacity of countries to engage in regional integration, or the capacity of the EU as an
international actor to influence the policy choices made by other countries.

How accurate and realistic is it to speak about the export of the EU model of regional
integration? Before we can try to answer this question, it is necessary to look at how the
EU model of regional integration operates in practice. What is this entity, and can we
indeed speak about a European ‘model’ of integration? The EU operates at many levels
that link the sub-national, the national and the supranational, with an institutional
framework (including the European Commission, the European Parliament, Court of
Justice, the European Council, and the Council of the European Union), and whole array
of policies that are implemented by the member states. The coordination role of the
European Commission is vital, but additionally it often plays a leadership role in
initiating new policy initiatives. Does exporting the EU model suggest that this entire
panoply of institutions, organisations, and policies must be or can be adopted elsewhere?
Yet vital though these institutions are to the functioning of the European Union, and to
the nature of its identity as a contemporary political community, these institutions and the
5policies and political processes have evolved in gradual and complex processes of
regional integration that are difficult to capture in a simple model that is easily replicated
and duplicated in other situations and region.

It is useful at this point to establish some conceptual clarity. The next section will briefly
consider the meaning of regional integration, and then provide a review of how the
contemporary European Union is represented in the academic literature.

The meaning of regional integration

Regional integration involves a process of increasing interaction and interdependence in
the economic and political arena among a group of countries. The extensive body of
literature on economic integration has its roots in work that coincided with the beginning
of the European Community, and even pre-dated it (Balassa, 1961; Tinbergen, 1954).
Primarily concerned with identifying the economic effects of trade liberalisation among a
group of countries, the political aspects were not explored in any detail, though it was
recognised that the effect of tariff reductions and complete liberalisation on government
revenue and the welfare effect on different sectors of an economy had clear political
implications. Tinbergen’s classification of regional economic integration as a series of
stages, running from free trade area through customs union, common market and
ultimately to economic union proved useful in subsequent studies of regional integration.
The European Community has to a large extent followed these stages of economic
integration. But, more generally, one has to take great care in this stylistic approach since
free trade area agreements may not even qualify as such in practice, while many free
trade areas never move beyond this stage of integration.

More recently, the literature has come to recognise the important role that economic
actors can play in strengthening and deepening the economic ties across national borders,
and the integration of physically adjacent economies. Perhaps in part due to the
expansion of globalisation, the emergence of transnational regional economies and
integrated networks of production and distribution marks the contemporary phase of
6regional economic integration. These processes of regionalisation are the product of
strategies by private actors, and thus are distinguished from the more deliberate strategies
by political actors in the different national settings to undergo formal regionalism
(Breslin et al, 2001). While the distinction between regionalism (formal and political)
and regionalisation (informal through the market) is a useful one in the context of
explaining what is actually happening in different parts of the world, it can lead to the
pursuit of rather circular arguments about which comes first – the formal, state-driven
regionalism, or the informal, market-led regionalisation processes. Regional integration
involving politically-distinct entities will inevitably require some active involvement of
the political leaders in all the participating countries, notwithstanding the unstoppable
forces of globalisation and the inevitable market penetration (Coleman and Underhill,
1998).

There are still many degrees of uncertainty over what constitutes regional integration,
even when we recognise the essential link between the political and the economic
processes. How far does a group of countries have to go with interdependence in order to
become integrated? Can we talk about regional integration due to the creation of a free
trade area? Or a common market? Or a monetary union? And, to what extent does
regional integration require, or create, institutions to promote and foster cooperative
arrangements? The issues around how to make cooperation work, and the appropriate
framework upon which to construct political and economic integration have attracted
much interest in the academic literature in recent years, and just as much attention on the
part of policy-makers around the world. What is at stake here is the very broad and
challenging question of the governance structures, institutions and forms of authority to
manage growing regional interdependence.

Theoretical innovation

The closing decade of the twentieth century witnessed renewed action in regional
integration in various parts of the world. In Asia, the proposal for a free trade area made
at the beginning of the 1990s was dropped, only to reappear again with new force in the
7wake of the 1997 financial crisis. In Africa, existing regional arrangements did not seem
to be able to deliver the objectives that countries had set for them and the conditions were
ripe for giving a new impetus to the goal of African unity. European integration was
continuing to gather pace after the success of the Single Market Programme, with a plan
for monetary union. This latest phase in the history of European integration was
accompanied by much theoretical work and ever-growing efforts to find new
explanations for the reality under observation (Wiener and Diez, 2004).

While we can learn a great deal about the governance approach and the role of policy
networks or the role of law in the integration process, these highly sophisticated theories
have applicability in the European context, but their more direct relevance to other
regional integration processes is less immediately obvious. Clearly, the notion of a
dispersion of authority and competence across territorial levels as described in the multi-
level governance model can also be found in other regions and polities. The multi-level
governance approach draws attention to the interconnection of multiple political arenas in
the process of governing, and it treats the EU system as a whole so it becomes possible to
identify the impact of both small and big changes on the different parts of this system. Of
key concern in the application of the multi-level governance approach is the way in
which power is distributed across the different levels, and how power can shift from one
level to another. There is a competition for political power between the different levels,
and in a political community like the EU which is ever-changing, we have to constantly
identify the location of power and the challenges from other levels in the system.

Returning to the question of concern in this paper, these theoretical approaches give some
insight into the ex post regional integration and the emerging political order in Europe but
this is not what the European Union is currently seeking to do elsewhere. And, while the
contemporary policy-making in the EU is the result of the interaction between different
actors with an interest in a particular policy area and the capacity to intervene and shape
policy outcomes, these policy networks are the product of individual circumstances in the
national and European (institutional/political) context (Rhodes, 1997). Not only are such
circumstances different in other regions, it is virtually impossible for the European
8Commission to engage in the necessary, long term construction of policy networks that
would be essential in order to replicate this form of the European regional integration
model.

The recent work on European integration is heavily caught up in the examination of the
supranational institutions, and the role of law in integration. The European Court of
Justice has been an influential actor in promoting the processes of integration, in
interpreting and fleshing out the provisions of the Treaty of Rome (and the subsequent
amending treaties), and in getting EC law into the national legal systems. But the legal
jurisdiction of the ECJ does not extend beyond the boundaries of the European Union.
Nor can the European Commission or individual member states resort to European law in
order to enforce integration provisions outside the EU – exporting the European law is
not for the moment an option except through the enlargement of the European
community. For relations with the rest of the world, the EU must rely upon international
law for enforcement and remedial action.

When we consider the issue of the exportability of the EU model it is clear that the model
cannot be exported in its entirety nor can the European Union impose the degree of
political and legal integration on external partners to be found within the EU-25. The
European Commission’s competence in external relations lies in the field of trade policy
and economic relations generally (thought there are also restrictions on the power of the
Commission to act independently). It is in the area of regional economic integration that
the EU is intending to replicate elsewhere the success achieved in internal integration.
The Cotonou Agreement elaborates the support for regional cooperation and integration
in the context of EU-Africa relations. The general approach is set out in Article 28, while
Articles 29 and 30 provide more details for economic integration and functional regional
cooperation respectively (Appendix 1)

Can historical institutionalism provide some deeper insights into the approach of the
European Union policy towards regional integration elsewhere? Can we derive a better
understanding of how and to what extent regional integration as an external policy can be
9supported and made to work more effectively to meet the objectives of other region
communities as well as those of the European Union itself? Certainly, one conclusion that
is suggested by approaches based upon historical institutionalism is the inherent
complexity associated with an analytical framework that attempts to simultaneously
embrace different levels and types of political activity (Hall: 1986, 1989). Using the
definition given by Steinmo, Thelen and Longstreth, institutions are defined as ‘the whole
range of state and societal institutions that shape how political actors define their interests
and that structure their relations of power to other groups’. Peter Hall’s account of how
Keynesianism permeated the economic policy-making in the US, and many of the
European countries during the post-war period gives an indication of how wide-ranging
the historical institutionalist analytical framework can be, while he also provides a
convincing explanation for the spread of similar ideas into policy-making, though
adapted to quite distinct political systems.

Things can of course work very differently in the context of international, as opposed to
national policymaking. International institutions are more diverse, and also more diffuse
with respect to interests, and vary in their overall structure and general capability. Yet,
international institutions do evolve over time and, the European Union being a case in
point, are shaped by the political interests of countries, the preferences of actors that
move in and out of the sphere of power and influence, and the critical junctures in the
evolution that shape the future of the institution and/or limit the direction and scope of
change. The EU decision to support regional integration through its external relations
policy is one that emerged gradually, and picks up on the array of discrete policy
initiatives that featured in the EU’s cooperation policy with Africa, Asia and Latin
America since the 1970s. At issue in this chapter is to consider to what extent there is a
departure from previous policy, and what institutional interests are at play in the evolving
strategy of promoting regional integration.

At a time when the academic debate continues over the nature of the EU as an
international actor, as a normative power vs. civilian power, this account of the strategy
towards regional integration can help to unpack some of the political struggles and
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