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The Experience of European Integration and the Potential for Integration in Mercosur

Friday December 22, 2006, at 14:00
Aula 4 - IBEI
Research seminar
Andrés Malamud (Instituto de Ciencias Sociais - Univ. de Lisboa)
The experience of the European Union is the most significant and far-reaching among all attempts at regional integration. It is, therefore, the most likely to provide some lessons for those world regions that are just beginning this complex process. In turn, the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) is—arguably—the regional integration project that has reached the greatest level of accomplishment after the EU. MERCOSUR is a customs union that aspires to become a common market, while avowing the commitment to strengthen eventual political integration. However, words have progressively tended to wander far from deeds. One reason underlying this phenomenon may be a misunderstanding of the relevance of the European experience with integration. In this article, we discuss the theories that have been developed to account for integration in Europe and may prove useful to understand integration elsewhere and put forward a set of lessons that could be drawn from the European experience. Subsequently, we introduce a description of the experience of MERCOSUR and reflect (critically) on how the theories and lessons drawn from the EU could be applied to MERCOSUR. We conclude by sketching a few modest proposals with a view to assisting integration in Latin America—and beyond