ZEI Regional Integration Observer (RIO)

In the years 2013-2016, the Regional Integration Observer (RIO) accompanied the ZEI-WAI Research Cooperation as a newsletter. It reported on, at the time, current events in the framework of the project and in European and West African regional integration. It was built on the ZEI Regional Integration Observer which was published at ZEI in the years 2007-2012.

In the "ZEI Regional Integration Observer (RIO)" series, ZEI has published the following editions between 2007 and 2012.

The second edition of the „ZEI Regional Integration Observer“(RIO) in 2012 contains a set of external perceptions of the European Union in times of crises. The articles were written by renowned scholars. Contributions combine empirical analysis of the public opinion in selected countries and the personal views of the authors. Geographically they cover Africa, South America, the Mediterranean space, the Asia-Pacific region, the Gulf region as well as China, India and the United States. Due to this diversity, the RIO facilitates a comparative perspective on the perception of Europe beyond its own borders. The sober analysis shows that especially due to the ongoing crisis there are considerable doubts about the Union´s internal and therefore necessarily also external capacity to act. Moreover it is revealed that Europe has lost much of its role model character and is missing a special relationship with the US which existed in Cold War times. At the same time, it is also obvious that the Union still has a positive potential as an actor in international relations that should be exploited.

The first edition of the „ZEI Regional Integration Observer“ in 2012 has a regional focus on regional integration efforts in Southern Africa and East Africa. Articles analyze different facets and future challenges. Ariane Kösler, in her leading article, gives an overview over 20 years of history of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which transformed itself from an anti-apartheid bloc consisting of the so-called frontline-states into one of the Regional Economic Communities (REC) or “building-blocks” of African continental integration in the framework of the African Union (AU). Building on these grounds, the following contributions look in more detail into some of the most pressing problems in the region, like SADC`s efforts to manage the difficult situation in Zimbabwe, analyzed by Vincent Darracq or the relationship between the two main regional powers in Southern Africa, Angola and South Africa, assessed by Adekeye Adebajo. Fredrik Söderbaum in his article suggests new models of explaining and evaluating the Southern African regional integration process going beyond classical integration theories linked to the European experience. Finally, the second region that is observed in this current RIO is East Africa. In this context, Michel Ndayikengurukiye sheds a light on the institutional structure and on the future of the EAC. He argues that the harmonization of laws of the different member states is one of the main problems in the region.

The third edition of the Regional Integration Observer (RIO) in 2011 deals with the subject of regulation and competition. Articles analyze the significance of this topic within and beyond Europe. First, the theoretical basis and the scope of measures for sectors-specific-regulation are explained and then illustrated through different country cases. In this context, the opportunities for a common competition policy in Southeast Asia (ASEAN) are being discussed. Moreover, the role of regulation in the process of Chinese economic development and in the development of the electricity market in the South American Andean state Ecuador, are being observed. A short article addresses the problems linked with the introduction and the applicability of competition rules in the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR). Finally, another contribution also deals with the current and future perspective for an improved competition and regulatory framework in North Africa against the background of the fundamental changes that have occurred in this region throughout the year 2011.

The second edition of the Regional Integration Observer (RIO) in 2011 is dedicated to the West African region as the geographic focus. Articles on the one hand deal with the role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as a regional security actor especially in the context of the conflict in Cote d´Ivoire, with the building-block concept of the African Union and its meaning for West Africa and with the objective of ECOWAS to transform itself into an ECOWAS of the people until 2020. On the other hand, contributions take a closer look at the relationship between ECOWAS and the francophone West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU/UEMOA) and furthermore analyze the problems of negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and West Africa. On the last page finally the current state of affairs in the framework of cooperation between the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) and the West Africa Institute (WAI) Praia, Cape Verde is presented.

The first edition of the Regional Integration Observer (RIO) in 2011 takes a closer look at different developments in regional economic integration all over the world. Articles give an overview over the projects for monetary integration in West and Central Africa, about their history and their future potential. Moreover, two Brazilian guest authors take critical stock of 20 years of regional integration in the Mercosur area. Apart from these contribution focusing on specific region two other articles deal on the one hand with the role of labor mobility and migration as indicators for the measuring of regional integration and on the other hand with the cost of non-integration. Finally in the RIO interview ZEI Director, Prof. Jürgen von Hagen gives answers to some current questions in the context of the financial crisis and its effect and on the state of affairs in monetary integration in Europe.

The third edition of the Regional Integration Observer (RIO) in 2010 has its geographic focus on Asia and the Pacific. Against this background, articles deal with the current developments in regional integration in this part of the world. ASEAN as the most ambitious regional grouping is analyzed profoundly in two articles with respect to its plans for the near future and also its comparability to the European Union (EU). Moreover readers get an impression about the perception of the EU, as the oldest und deepest integration scheme, within Asia, based on a research project that evaluated media coverage and interviews with stakeholders over several years. Finally, in the RIO interview, the Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum is sharing his views on the most pressing problems and challenges of the Pacific integration project.

The second edition of the ZEI Regional Integration Observer in 2010 deals with the link between regional integration and security. Even today and particularly in times of crisis, peace is always seen as the main positive result of the European unification process after centuries of regular war and mutual destruction. Also in other regions, security problems of all kinds have negative cross border effects, even more in times of a globalized world. The articles of this RIO deal with those regions. Authors analyze the respective constellations of conflict among others in the Caucasus, in Northeast Asia, in the Middle East, in South Asia as well as in Africa. They describe progress, underlying problems and point out possible solutions for security problems in the framework of a closer regional cooperation.

The first edition of the “Regional Integration Observer” (RIO) in 2010 is focusing on the Central American region. Articles analyze the most important advances but also the difficulties of the integration process there. In this context, the concept of “democratic security”, which is very similar to the principle of “human security” but was developed even earlier, is examined in detail. Further central topics are the negotiations on an Association Agreement between Central America and the European Union as well as the role of the educational sector in the integration process. In the RIO interview, the Secretary-General of the Central American Integration System (SICA) comments on current developments. The RIO was prepared in cooperation with the State Distance University (UNED) in San José, Costa Rica.

The third edition of the “ZEI Regional Integration Observer” in 2009 is dedicated to the role of law in regional integration processes. Articles deal with the ruling of the German Federal Constitutional Court on the compatibility of the Treaty of Lisbon with the German Basic Law. Other contributions cover the growing significance of regional courts in other regional integration systems like ECOWAS, CARICOM, SICA or MERCOSUR.

The second edition of the Regional Integration Observer in 2009 is dedicated to the situation in the Gulf region. The Gulf Cooperation Council, as the local integration organisation, was founded in 1981 and has developed to an important actor in different policy fields. Articles analyze the costs and benefits of regional integration in the Gulf in general, as well as the prospects for a monetary union, the engagement of the European Union in the region and the foreign policy of the GCC. Moreover the RIO contains an interview with the director of international studies of the Gulf Research Center in Dubai.

The first edition of the “Regional Integration Observer” in 2009 focusses on “Research and Education” in comparative regional integration. On the one hand, the articles ask for the general challenges in this field and on the other hand, they present some examples from different world regions, like the "West Africa Institute" in Cape Verde and "CARICOM Park" in Barbados. Moreover, this RIO contains a number of short commentaries of renowned experts dealing with the question, why European integration issues are also of great importance in the academia outside Europe.

The fourth edition of the Regional Integration Observer deals with regional integration in Latin America. On the one hand the articles analyze the internal dimension in the fields of politics, economics and infrastructure. On the other hand the bi-regional relationships with the European Union are addressed as well.

The third edition of the Regional Integration Observer generally focuses on the bi-regional relations of the European Union. Special emphasis is placed on the EU-ACP relations (Africa, Caribic, Pacific) with particular consideration of the economic partnership agreements. The highlight of this issue is an interview with the Secretary General of the Andean Community.

The second issue of the Regional Integration Observer has been published. The current main focus is on the West African regional organization ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). The different articles discuss the West African regional parliament, free movement in West Africa and trade policy. Furthermore, two other contributions broach the issue of regional integration in Latin America.

The first volume of the Regional Integration Observer addresses the proliferation of regional integration. This phenomenon is analyzed in the leading article by ZEI-Director Prof. Dr. Ludger Kühnhardt. In addition to this theoretical analysis, the Observer contains brief analyses of current activities in SADC, ASEAN and MERCOSUR, providing practical insights into the world of regional integration.

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