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Political Integration and National Sovereignty


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Russia, China Looking to Form 'NATO of the East'? (October 26, 2005)

Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are considering the possibility of a Central Asian military bloc. The organization, founded in 2001, focuses primarily on political cooperation and security issues. If SCO members establish military ties, the alliance would rival NATO and serve to limit US influence in the region. Though not currently SCO members, India, Pakistan, and Iran participate in negotiations as "observers." (Christian Science Monitor)

Two Nations Get Warning on EU Membership (October 25, 2005)

The European Union is threatening to postpone Romanian and Bulgarian accession to the organization if the two countries fail to tackle corruption and initiate judicial reform. If they do not progress, Romanian and Bulgarian entry into the EU will likely be delayed from 2007 to 2008. Given the failure of the EU Constitution and Europe's slow-growing economy, the climate for expansion has become increasingly hostile. (International Herald Tribune)

ASEAN Searches for Common Political Values (August 1, 2005)

Since its inception in 1967, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has concentrated on trade, development and economic issues. It has maintained the group's cohesion with an "open and accommodating stance" about authoritarian member regimes. At the 38th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 2005, members decided to develop an ASEAN Charter aimed at promoting democracy, human rights, transparency and good governance, as an "attempt to make ASEAN a relevant body in the wake of change taking place around it.'' (Inter Press Service)

EU Entry a Lesson for AU's Peer Review (July 18, 2005)

This opinion piece in Johannesburg's Business Daysuggests that Africa follow the European Union accession procedures as a "model for a progressive form of integration in Africa." While prospective EU members must fulfill mandatory criteria such as democracy, human rights, stable institutions, and competitive market economy, the African peer review is voluntary. "But unlike Europe, Africa has no core group of states that can set the example, and develop a concrete system of rules."

Europe Is Still Europe (June 6, 2005)

Answering questions on whether the rejection of the European Union's constitution in France and the Netherlands "meant that the European Union lacked a core," Germany's Foreign Minister insisted that "there is a soul." While few experts deny that the rejection of the constitution by two important member states has created a crisis, the author of this New York Timespiece argues that "there are numerous reasons to declare [the EU] a success." Besides, as the director of the Brussels-based European Policy Center said, "it's gone too far for it to be reversed."

Quietly Sprouting: A European Identity (April 26, 2005)

This International Herald Tribunepiece considers how "the everyday reality of Europe's open borders is quietly forging a European identity." An increasing number of young Europeans "are multilingual and multicultural" because of programs like Erasmus, which has allowed 1.2 million students to study at universities outside their home countries.

Europe and VISA: Separated at Birth? (April 1, 2005)

The European Union looks a lot like VISA, the credit card network -- both are small, decentralized organizations where power rests with their members. So argues this Globalistpiece, which asks an interesting question: how has Europe managed to grow in size and strength without provoking its neighbors into uniting against it? The author argues that this is a singular phenomenon. All throughout history, the emergence of every major power has resulted in neighbors moving to balance that strength. But in Europe's case, the opposite has happened: other countries want to join instead.

An Asia that Isn't the East (February 2005)

As Asia becomes regionally integrated through institutions like Asean, many Asians debate the notion of an Asian identity. Some want a supranational association similar to the EU, while others question the existence of one "Asia", calling it an artificial construct invented by the West. This Le Monde diplomatiquearticle examines the idea of "Asia" and "the East", and the role the West has played in shaping it.


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Asean Signs Historic Deal with China (November 29, 2004)

A new trade pact between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China represents a move towards a two billion people pan-Asian market, which according to the Guardiancould "rival the EU and the US." In addition to the establishment of a free trade zone by 2010, the pact calls for military and security cooperation, tourism promotion and the creation of early-warning systems for infectious diseases.

Globalization: Europe's Wary Embrace (November 1, 2004)

This article states that during the 1980s, Europeans perceived European Union integration as a force triggering globalization, which consequently posed a threat to local cultures. Since then, while Europeans have perceived the Union as a negative part of growing international interdependence, they also see it as a tool to counterbalance the adverse effects of globalization. (YaleGlobal)

EU Constitution Complete, but Ratification Looms Large (June 21, 2004)

Leaders of the European Union agreed on a constitution, but tensions still exist between member states favoring rapid integration of the continent and those who fear that their national identities might be lost in a federal Europe. These differences threaten the future of the new charter, which will only come into force if all EU countries choose to ratify it within the next two years. (Christian Science Monitor)

Moammar Gadhafi and the African Union's New Military Structures (March 17, 2004)

Enhanced military cooperation between African Union (AU) member states represents an important step in moving the AU beyond the limitations of the old Organization of African Unity's "dictators' club." African leaders remain concerned, however, that the plans for a standing AU army under centralized control are being championed by Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. (Power and Interest News Report)

Union, But Not Unanimity, as Europe's East Joins West (March 11, 2004)

With the EU set to expand to 25 countries this Spring, countries on both sides of Europe are voicing their concerns with integration. Eastern European countries fear being swamped by a powerful and bureaucratic West, whilst Western European nations fear incoming migrants will drain wealth and jobs, complicating problems of economic stagnation and tensions over illegal immigration. (New York Times)

Why NEPAD and African Politics Don't Mix (February 16, 2004)

The author blames the limited "concrete progress" towards the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) goals on the "post-colonial nature" of African politics, in which power "must be understood as the utilization of patronage and not as the performance of legitimacy drawn from the sovereign will." (Foreign Policy In Focus)

African Summit to Adopt Security, Defense Policy (February 6, 2004)

The African Union (AU) is holding a landmark summit on the adoption of a common security and defense policy. With security still being the greatest impediment to the continent's economic development, such a policy will strengthen Africa's capacity for peacekeeping and possibly revive its economy in the future. (Reuters)

Inescapably Side by Side - An Interview with David Held (February 2004)

David Held, a leading political scientist, addresses the concept of globalization and stresses the need for a "cosmopolitan democracy" in an age of interconnectedness. Further, Held comments on how evolving supra-national, political and economical projects challenge state sovereignty. (Polity)

African Union Seeks Muscle (January 22, 2004)

The African Union plans to establish a human rights court and key governance institutions. Some analysts, while welcoming the initiative, question whether the AU institutions will have enough authority to overcome the difficulties faced by its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity. (News24)


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EU Talks on Constitution End in Failure (December 14, 2003)

Negotiations on a European Constitution at the EU's Brussels summit have collapsed. The draft constitution included changes aimed at strengthening the EU, both internally and internationally. The failed negotiations not only slow the integration process, but also split the EU into groups-"essentially creating an EU within the EU." (Washington Post)

Mercosur and the FTAA: New Tensions and New Options (November 11, 2003)

The US proposals for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) present new challenges for the regional integration strategy of Mercosur. Mercosur aims at establishing a common market similar to the European Union, including economic and political integration. But the FTAA aim of expanding free trade to the Americas could threaten a deeper-going integration within Mercosur. (Interhemispheric Resource Center)

A Generation on the Move in Europe (July 22, 2003)

While EU politicians negotiate the possibility of common foreign policy and taxes, the most powerful European integration happens among European youth. Cross-border relationships, mastering three or four different languages, and studying and working abroad has become the norm in Europe. (Washington Post)

EU Constitution: A 'Superpower Europe' It Won't Be (July 18, 2003)

Although the draft of the EU constitution expands the Union's power in areas like criminal law, crucial fields of state authority such as foreign policy, the military, and taxes remain under the control of national governments. The author claims the suggested constitution will not make the EU a counterweight to the US. (New York Times)

Seeking Unity, Europe Drafts a Constitution (June 15, 2003)

The draft of the EU constitution changes Europe from an economic union to a "place of citizenship." The proposed constitution also states that EU law will have primacy over that of member states. (New York Times)

Europe's Constitution Nears Completion (June 12, 2003)

The final draft of the EU constitution gives stronger powers to the EU's institutions in ways that are not adequately accountable, raising fears that the EU will become an "undemocratic superstate."(BBC News)


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A Half-Century On, Bureaucracy Bogs Down Europe's Grand Vision (December 13, 2002)

A central debate in the expansion of the EU is whether to adopt a federalist style government or to keep power in national governments and then coordinate national policies. One analyst argues that "European integration cannot function unless citizens own the political process" thus making the EU a cohesive political entity. (Christian Science Monitor)

A Bit Dotty, Skeptics Are Out To Show Europe Isn't One Big Happy Family (December 10, 2002)

As the EU moves toward enlargement, not everyone in Europe is preparing to celebrate. Skeptics, especially from Nordic countries and Great Britain, see the EU as "a greedy giant leech that is steadily, stealthily sucking the national characters from its member countries." (New York Times)

Europe's Identity Crisis (May 2, 2002)

The rise of right-wing politicians across Europe highlights the "deep concern over issues of personal and national identity" created by ever-closer integration. European institutions must be "properly democratic and accountable," to limit feelings of alienation. (New York Times)

Imagine: a European Identity (March 14, 2002)

For many in the EU, identity is a "zero-sum game" in which "any increase in European identity automatically diminishes its regional or national counterparts." The author argues that multiple layers of identity can actually enrich each and every European culture. (Open Democracy)


Back to Current Articles | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2000

The New Layers of Europe (May 22, 2000)

A changing Europe is rapidly developing a multilayered set of political connections. States are redefining sovereignty both through giving up traditional responsibilities to the EU and, at the same time allowing regional and local structures more autonomy. (Christian Science Monitor)


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