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The applicability of adopting European Union?s integration model in South Asia: A comparative analysis of European Union and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation


  • Thumira Gunasena

    (University of Kelaniya)


The European integration is three decades older than the South Asian integration. European Union stands as an outstanding regional body even though South Asian Association for regional Cooperation is still struggling to achieve the basic premises of economic integration. The aim of this paper is to comparatively analyze the two regional integrations and to identify how far is it appropriate to adopt the European integration model to accelerate the South Asian integration. One specific objective is to identify the core differences between the two regional settings and next objective is to determine the theoretical relevance of certain existing theories in describing the two integration processes. Another specific objective is to evaluate the suitability of adopting European Union model in South Asia and to recommend necessary reforms for better integration in South Asia.Data triangulation method has been used to accumulate secondary data from multiple sources available in electronic and printed form including books, journals, web, reports, historical records and treaties. Qualitative content analysis has been used since this is a documentary analysis and Content analysis evaluate document texts and to test theoretical relevance to understand data more comprehensively and scientifically. It will test prevailing theories in different contexts when compare the categories of different settings. Key findings depicts that there is a sharp diversity between the European Union and South Asia in terms of trade, economic development, human development, industrialization, urbanization, trade liberalization, income levels, poverty alleviation and political integration. Amidst these differences the applicability of adopting the European model proves to be a failure due to many factors. The democratic nature of the countries and their practice of free market economic policies along with the successful resolutions for political tensions in Europe significantly caused the long term success of European integration whereas South Asian countries are suffering from huge diversities in economic, geographic, cultural, trade and military terms within the region and hesitate to co-operate with one another due to these differences. Indo-Pakistan political tensions blended with smaller states? fear psychosis of Indian hegemony is the greatest constraint for better integration in South Asia. South Asia required rearranging the structure of its regional organization and opening avenues to discuss contentious issues among member states. Establishment of real democracies and reliable interactions among people to people contacts while adopting more comprehensive free market economic policies domestically would facilitate the economic and political integration of South Asia in the future.

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  • Thumira Gunasena, 2016. "The applicability of adopting European Union?s integration model in South Asia: A comparative analysis of European Union and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation," International Journal of Social Sciences, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences, vol. 5(2), pages 19-43, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sek:jijoss:v:5:y:2016:i:2:p:19-43

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tanja A. Börzel & Thomas Risse, 2009. "Diffusing (Inter-) Regionalism - The EU as a Model of Regional Integration," KFG Working Papers p0007, Free University Berlin.
    2. Andrew Moravcsik, 1993. "Preferences and Power in the European Community: A Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 473-524, December.
    3. Oecd, 1998. "Sustainable Institutions for European Union Membership," SIGMA Papers 26, OECD Publishing.
    4. Mark Pollack, 2000. "International Relations Theory and European Integration," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 55, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
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    More about this item


    European Union; South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation; Economic integration; political integration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Y90 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Other - - - Other


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