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The European Community and the World

A Historical Perspective


Giuliana Laschi

The European Community (EC) has taken on an outward-looking dimension over the years since its first establishment, developing structures and tools which are unprecedented in the history of international relations.
The original signatories of the Treaty of Rome accepted the idea of a «little» Europe only as a first step towards something that would be much bigger and more powerful; ultimately, they wanted to provide the EC with the international power necessary to realize the idea of the common market.
It is not possible to properly define the EC’s actions towards the rest of the world as «foreign policy» in every case and at every stage of its history; nevertheless, the EC has undoubtedly always played a strong and significant international role, even if this role has been expressed in an unconventional way compared to the international system.
This volume on European spaces and borders provides a meeting-point for a number of very different analyses and interpretations, from a variety of disciplinary, chronological and geopolitical perspectives, and in so doing develops a rich and complex debate.
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Latin America and Europe. Regional Fragmentation v. Regional Convergence. A Comparative View (Gian Luca Gardini)

← 146 | 147 →Latin America and Europe


Gian Luca Gardini

Europe and Latin America are arguably the areas of the world where regional integration has the longest tradition and the most articulated projects. The concepts regionalism and integration immediately recall the notions of unity and cohesion. From the outset, unity and solidarity among the newly independent Latin American republics defined the discourse and theorising of the liberation fathers, such as Bolivar and San Martin, and later on of the great intellectuals who formed a ‘Latin American conscience’, such as Monteagudo, Alberdi and Martì2. However, this supposed commonality has always struggled with political and leadership rivalries and with different interests and antagonism on the grounds of security as well as economics.

With the establishment of the European Communities first and the European Union later, Latin America has consistently looked at Europe as a model of regional integration and economic and social development. However, divisions and fragmentation have not disappeared. While in Europe one project – the EU – was able to gather consensus and prosper, in Latin America a plethora of coexisting, if not divergent attempts have characterised and still characterise the regional political landscape. In the 1960s and 1970s, Latin American regionalism adopted the so-called “closed” model, where integration was conceived as an instrument to insulate the region from external competition and develop a regional infant industry. On such bases, the Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA), the Andean Community (CAN), the Central ← 147 | 148 → American Common Market (CACM), and the Caribbean Community were...

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