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South America


Two Blocks with Expandable Relationships
The European Economic Community (EEC), a precursor of the European Union (EU), was founded with the signing of the Treaty of Rome on24 March 1957. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the integration process, it is time to take a look at the EU’s relations with other parts of the world, in particular with the Union of South American Nation (UNASUR).
It is often said that the model of the South American integration process is the EU. It is therefore important to understand how the founding of UNASUR came about in 2008.

The experience of European integration and the potential for integration in South America

Fundació CIDOB
Volume, number, page: 
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) and the Andean Community (CAN) are among
the regional integration projects that have reached the greatest level of formal accomplishment
after the EU. MERCOSUR is a customs union that aspires to become a common market,
while avowing the commitment to advance towards political integration. For its part,
CAN is a customs union that has already developed supranational institutions such as a
Commission, a Parliament and a Court of Justice. In both cases, however, words have progressively
tended to wander far from deeds. One reason underlying this phenomenon may
be a misunderstanding 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 integration in South America and reflect (critically) on how the theories and
lessons drawn from the EU could be applied to this region -and beyond.
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