Is the EU a model of regional integration? Risks and challenges

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    The experience of the European Union (EU) is widely perceived as not just an example, but the model for regional integration. In recent years, the EU has also been pursuing an increasing number of trade agreements. Besides fostering economic ties, these agreements have also been used by the EU to export its regulatory approach beyond tariff and non-tariff barriers issues. As a result, this EU regulatory demonstration effect also influences the institutional development of its trading partners. 

    More recently, the EU seems to have stepped up its efforts to shape the regional integration process of developing countries, by undertaking comprehensive agreements with regional groupings, which cover not just trade, but also trade-related issues, development concerns and political aspects. This is notably the case with the current negotiations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regional groupings in the context of economic partnership agreements (EPAs). The support provided by the European Commission to the development of the institutions and work programme of the African Union (AU) will also further contribute to export the EU integration model.

    Photo By Dietmar Temps under Creative Commons

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