“Differentiation in ASEAN, ECOWAS and MER-COSUR: A Comparative Analysis”, Bart Gaens, Bernardo Venturi and Anna Ayuso (IAI, Italy)

This policy paper explores how diverse modes of differentiation occur in regions beyond Europe. From the perspective of comparative regionalism, the paper examines how the practice of differentiation facilitates flexibility and accommodates diversity in regional cooperation processes in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Examining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern Common Market (Mercado Común del Sur, MERCOSUR), the paper analyses how differentiation is applied and how it ties in with primarily trade integration. Specifically, the paper assesses whether differentiation leads to centrifugal or centripetal dynamics, and it examines the impact of differentiation on internal as well as external cooperation. After comparing the three cases, the paper draws policy recommendations for the EU.

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