The further integration of regional blocs and the interregional approach between the EU and other regional blocs represent an important way of dealing with future global challenges. To discuss the emerging blocs, the role of the EU to foster their further development and their impact on the changing architectures of global governance, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and experts exchanged ideas in three different panels.
In the first session, panellists Marc Tarabella MEP (Vice-Chair ASEAN Delegation), Dr. Bruno Hellendorff (Researcher at GRIP) and Dr. James Arputharaj Williams (President of South Asian Federalists) focused on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) challenges to reach an Economic Community in 2015. A comparison between the EU and ASEAN was made in order to understand the reasons behind the creation of the two regional blocs and their greatest differences today. Several proposals were made to help ASEAN improve its regional integration process and to suggest the EU how to support it.
During the second session on EU-Mercosur relations, the speakers Dr. Alfredo Valladao (Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs of Sciences Po in Paris), Eleonora Catella (Adviser on Mercosur at BUSINESSEUROPE) and Fernando Iglesias (President of Democracia Global) expressed their pessimism on the state of current affairs. According to the speakers, although both sides have many common interests, the interregional approach between the EU and Mercosur has proven to be a failure, leading to minor results in the negotiation process for a free trade agreement. The situation is unlikely to change unless the two sides do not develop new strategies and directions.
The third panel with Jo Leinen MEP (President of European Movement International) and William Pace (Executive director of the World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy) discussed the EU-US relations and the new global governance. The panel stated that despite the differences between the two continents, the EU and the US have been cooperating together until now mainly because of their common set values, such as democracy and human rights. However, it is undeniable the emerging multipolar world requires power to be redistributed and there are still many challenges to be faced by the West.
For more details on this conference, please find the report here.