This article is about the process of state integration into Europe. For the political doctrine of a common European culture, see Europeanism.
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic, social and cultural integration of states wholly or partially in Europe. European integration has primarily come about through the European Union and its policies.
One of the first to conceive of a union of European nations was Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, who wrote the Pan-Europa manifesto in 1923. His ideas influenced Aristide Briand, who gave a speech in favour of a European Union in the League of Nations on 8 September 1929, and who in 1930 wrote a "Memorandum on the Organization of a Regime of European Federal Union" for the Government of France, which became the first European government formally to adopt the principle.
|“||We must build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only, will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living. |
At the end of World War II, the continental political climate favoured unity in democratic European countries, seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism which had devastated the continent. In a speech delivered on 19 September 1946 at the University of Zürich, Switzerland, Winston Churchill postulated a United States of Europe. The same speech however contains remarks, less often quoted, which make it clear that Churchill did not initially see Britain as being part of this United States of Europe: We British have our own Commonwealth of Nations ... And why should there not be a European group which could give a sense of enlarged patriotism and common citizenship to the distracted peoples of this turbulent and mighty continent and why should it not take its rightful place with other great groupings in shaping the destinies of men? ... France and Germany must take the lead together. Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, mighty America and I trust Soviet Russia-for then indeed all would be well-must be the friends and sponsors of the new Europe and must champion its right to live and shine.
Theories of integration
The question of how to avoid wars between the nation-states was essential for the first theories. Federalism and Functionalism proposed the containment of the nation-state, while Transactionalism sought to theorise the conditions for the stabilisation of the nation-state system.
One of the most influential theories of European integration is neofunctionalism, developed by Ernst B. Haas (1958) and further investigated by Leon Lindberg (1963). The important debate between neofunctionalism and (liberal) intergovernmentalism still remains central in understanding the development and setbacks of the European Union. But as the empirical world has changed, so have the theories and thus the understanding of European Integration. Today there is a relatively new focus on the complex policy-making in the EU and multi-level governance (MLG) trying to produce a theory of the workings and development of the EU.
Citizens' organisations calling for further integration
Various federalist organisations have been created over time supporting the idea of a federal Europe. These include the Union of European Federalists, the European Movement International and the European Federalist Party. The Union of European Federalists (UEF) is a European non-governmental organisation, campaigning for a Federal Europe. It consists of 20 constituent organisations and it has been active at the European, national and local levels for more than 50 years. The European Movement International is a lobbying association that coordinates the efforts of associations and national councils with the goal of promoting European integration, and disseminating information about it. The European Federalist Party is the pro-European, pan-European and federalist political party which advocates further integration of the EU and the establishment of a Federal Europe. Its aim is to gather all Europeans to promote European federalism and to participate in all elections all over Europe. It has national sections in 15 countries.
Overlap of membership in various agreements
There are various agreements with overlapping membership. Several countries take part in a larger number of agreements than others.
Common membership of member states of the European Union
All member states of the European Union (EU) are members of the:
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Secretariat: Vienna, Austria
- Council of Europe (CoE), HQ: Strasbourg, France
- European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), HQ: Neuilly-sur-Seine/Paris, France
- European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), HQ: Brussels, Belgium
- European Committee for Standardization (CEN), HQ: Brussels, Belgium
- European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), HQ: Sophia Antipolis, France
- European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), HQ: Brussels, Belgium
have organizations that are members of the:
have organisations that are members, associated partners or observers of the
are located in the European Broadcasting Area (EBA)
Most integrated countries
Fourteen states are part of Eurozone and NATO. These are Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
They are all members of:
Of these states several take part in further organisations, but some are outside.
|1||Spain||did not sign the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court|
|1||Lithuania||is not part of EUMETNET|
|1||Portugal||is not part of PESCO|
|3||Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania||are not part of the RG Continental Europe of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity|
|4||Estonia, Latvia, France, the Netherlands||did not sign the Declaration 52 on symbols of the European Union|
|4||Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia||are not members of the European Space Agency (ESA) but all have signed an ECS Agreement|
|4||Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia||are not part of European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Slovenia has formally confirmed its wish to become a member|
|4||Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia||are not part of European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), but have signed a co-operation agreement|
|5||Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, Italy, Portugal||did not sign the Prüm Convention, but all except Latvia notified the Council of their desire to become part of the convention|
|5||Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia||are not members of European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), but Lithuania and Slovakia are EMBL Prospect Member State|
|6||Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg||don't participate in the Institut Laue–Langevin (ILL)|
|7||Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Greece||don't participate in the European Southern Observatory (ESO)|
|9||Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg||don't participate in the European Gendarmerie Force|
|10||Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands||don't participate in the European Maritime Force (Euromarfor or EMF)|
Thus, no country is part of all of these groups, but Belgium and Germany take part in all where at least half of the 14 member states participate.
Beyond geographic Europe
Some agreements that are mostly related to countries of the European continent, are also valid in territories outside the continent.
Not listed below are agreements if their scope is beyond geographic Europe only because the agreement includes:
- Territories of transcontinental countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia contain some territory in Europe and some in Asia
- Special territories of European countries, e.g. Special territories of member states of the European Union
- Cyprus, which is a member of the Council of Europe and several other agreements
Limited to regions within geographic Europe
Several regional integration efforts have effectively promoted intergovernmental cooperation and reduced the possibility of regional armed conflict. Other initiatives have removed barriers to free trade in European regions, and increased the free movement of people, labour, goods, and capital across national borders.
Since the end of the Second World War, the following organisations have been established in the Nordic region:
The Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers is a co-operation forum for the parliaments and governments of the Nordic countries created in February 1953. It includes the states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and their autonomous territories (Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland).
The Nordic Passport Union, created in 1954 but implemented on 1 May 1958, establishes free movement across borders without passports for the countries' citizens. It comprises Denmark, Sweden and Norway as foundational states; further, it includes Finland and Iceland since 24 September 1965, and the Danish autonomous territories of Faroe Islands since 1 January 1966.
Baltic Sea region
The following political and/or economic organisations have been in the Baltic region in the post-modern era:
The Baltic Assembly aims to promote co-operation between the parliaments of the Baltic states, namely the Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The organisation was planned in Vilnius on 1 December 1990, and the three nations agreed to its structure and rules on 13 June 1994.
The Baltic Free Trade Area (BAFTA) was a trade agreement between Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. It was signed on 13 September 1993 and came into force on 1 April 1994. The agreement was later extended to apply also to agricultural products, effective from 1 January 1997. BAFTA ceased to exist when its members joined the EU on 1 May 2004.
The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) was founded in 1992 to promote intergovernmental cooperation among Baltic Sea countries in questions concerning economy, civil society development, human rights issues, and nuclear and radiation safety. It has 12 members including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland (since 1995), Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the European Commission.
In 2009 the European Council approved the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) following a communication from the European Commission. The EUSBSR was the first macro-regional strategy in Europe. The Strategy aims to reinforce cooperation within the Baltic Sea Region, to address challenges together, and to promote balanced development in the Region. The Strategy contributes to major EU policies, including Europe 2020, and reinforces integration within the Region.
Main article: NB8
Low Countries region (Benelux)
Since the end of the First World War the following unions have been set in the Low Countries region:
The Benelux is an economic and political union between Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. On 5 September 1944, a treaty establishing the Benelux Customs Union was signed. It entered into force in 1948, and ceased to exist on 1 November 1960, when it was replaced by the Benelux Economic Union after a treaty signed in The Hague on 3 February 1958. A Benelux Parliament was created in 1955.
The Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) can be seen as a forerunner of the Benelux. BLEU was created by the treaty signed on 25 July 1921. It established a single market between both countries, while setting the Belgian franc and Luxembourgian franc at a fixed parity.
Black Sea region
Several regional organisations have been founded in the Black Sea region since the fall of the Soviet Union, such as:
The Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) aims to ensure peace, stability and prosperity by encouraging friendly and good-neighbourly relations among the 12 state members, located mainly in the Black Sea region. It was created on 25 June 1992 in Istanbul, and entered into force on 1 May 1999. The 11 founding members were Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Serbia (then Serbia and Montenegro) joined in April 2004.
The GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development is a regional organisation of four post-Soviet states, which aims to promote cooperation and democratic values, ensure stable development, enhance international and regional security, and stepping up European integration. Current members include the four founding ones, namely, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. Uzbekistan joined in 1999, and left in 2005.
Britain and Ireland
Since the end of the First World War, the following agreements have been signed in the Britain and Ireland and Irish region:
The British-Irish Council was created by the Belfast Agreement in 1998 to "promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the peoples of these islands". It was formally established on 2 December 1999. Its membership comprises Ireland, the United Kingdom, three of the countries of the UK (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), and three British Crown dependencies (Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey). Because England does not have a devolved government, it is not represented on the Council as a separate entity.
The Common Travel Area is a passport-free zone established in 1922 that comprises Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
The following cooperation agreements have been signed in Central Europe:
The Visegrád Group is a Central-European alliance for cooperation and European integration, based on an ancient strategic alliance of core Central European countries. The Group originated in a summit meeting of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland held in the Hungarian castle town of Visegrád on 15 February 1991. The Czech Republic and Slovakia became members after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
In 1989, Central European Initiative, a forum of regional has been formed in Hungary.
The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) is a trade agreement between countries in Central Europe and the Balkans, which works as a preparation for full European Union membership. As of 2013[update], it has 7 members: Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and UNMIK-administered Kosovo province.
It was established in 1992 by Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, but came into force only in 1994. Czechoslovakia had in the meantime split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Slovenia joined in 1996, while Romania did the same in 1997, Bulgaria in 1999, and Croatia in 2003. In 2004, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia left the CEFTA to join the EU. Romania and Bulgaria left it in 2007 for the same reason. Subsequently, Macedonia joined it in 2006, and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo) in 2007. In 2013, Croatia left the CEFTA to join the EU.
Switzerland and Liechtenstein participate in a customs union since 1924, and both employ the Swiss franc as national currency.
The effects of the EU integration process of the countries from Eastern bloc are still debated. As a result, the relationship between immigration levels and EU public support remains uncertain. Through the integration, the countries in Eastern Europe have experienced growth of the economy, benefits of the free market agreements and freedom of the labor movement within the EU. However, the results of the empirical socioeconomic analyses[which?] suggest that in Spain, France, Ireland and the Netherlands, the immigration from CEE had negative effects on support for European integration in the host societies. The research[which?] also implies that the immigration from the CEE seems to undermine the long-term effects of the integration. There are theories[which?] for the programs of social development that range in views from: an extended contact with the immigrants from the Eastern Europe might help forge a common European identity and it could also lead to a potential national isolation, caused by tightening support mechanisms for the labor immigration. Equal amount of research also implies that the internal migration of the countries within the EU is necessary for the successful development of its economic union.
The EU Strategy for the Danube Region was endorsed by the European Council in 2011 and is the second macro-regional strategy in Europe. The Strategy provides a basis for improved cooperation among 14 countries along the Danube River. It aims to improve the effectiveness of regional integration efforts and leverage the impact of policies at the EU, national and local levels.
Council of Europe
Main article: Council of Europe
Against the background of the devastation and human suffering during the Second World War as well as the need for reconciliation after the war, the idea of European integration led to the creation of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in 1949.
The most important achievement of the Council of Europe is the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 with its European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which serves as a de facto supreme court for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Europe. Human rights are also protected by the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the European Social Charter.
Most conventions of the Council of Europe pursue the aim of greater legal integration, such as the conventions on legal assistance, against corruption, against money laundering, against doping in sport, or internet crime.
Cultural co-operation is based on the Cultural Convention of 1954 and subsequent conventions on the recognition of university studies and diplomas as well as on the protection of minority languages.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, former communist European countries were able to accede to the Council of Europe, which now comprises 47 states in Europe. Therefore, European integration has practically succeeded at the level of the Council of Europe, encompassing almost the whole European continent, with the exception of Kazakhstan and Belarus, the latter due to its still non-democratic government.
European integration at the level of the Council of Europe functions through the accession of member states to its conventions as well as through political coordination at the level of ministerial conferences and inter-parliamentary sessions. In accordance with its Statute of 1949, the Council of Europe works to achieve greater unity among its members based on common values, such as human rights and democracy.
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is a trans-Atlantic intergovernmental organisation whose aim is to secure stability in Europe. It was established as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in July 1973, and was subsequently transformed into its current form in January 1995. The OSCE has 56 member states, covering most of the northern hemisphere.
The OSCE develops three lines of activities, namely the Politico-Military Dimension, the Economic and Environmental Dimension and the Human Dimension. These respectively promote (i) mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution; (ii) the monitoring, alerting and assistance in case of economic and environmental threats; and (iii) full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
European Free Trade Association
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a European trade bloc which was established on 3 May 1960 as an alternative for European states who did not join the EEC. EFTA currently has four member states: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein; just Norway and Switzerland are founding members.
The EFTA Convention was signed on 4 January 1960 in Stockholm by seven states: Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Finland became an associate member in 1961 and a full member in 1986; Iceland joined in 1970 and Liechtenstein did the same in 1991.
The United Kingdom and Denmark left in 1973, when they joined the European Community (EC). Portugal left EFTA in 1986, when it also joined the EC. Austria, Finland and Sweden ceased to be EFTA members in 1995 by joining the European Union, which superseded the EC in 1993.
European Broadcasting Union
Main article: European Broadcasting Union
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is an alliance of public service media entities, established on 12 February 1950. As of 2015[update], the organisation comprises 73 active members in 56 countries, and 34 associate members from a further 20 countries. Most EU states are part of this organisation and therefore EBU has been subject to supranational legislation and regulation. It also hosted debates between candidates for the European Commissionpresidency for the 2014 parliamentary elections but is unrelated to the institution itself.
European Patent Convention
Main article: European Patent Convention
As of 2013 there are 38 parties to European Patent Convention. The Convention on the Grant of European Patents was first signed on 5 October 1973.
In 1951, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany agreed to confer powers over their steel and coal production to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in the Treaty of Paris, which came into force on 23 July 1952.
Coal and steel production was essential for the reconstruction of countries in Europe after the Second World War and this sector of the national economy had been important for warfare in the First and Second World Wars. Therefore, France had originally maintained its occupation of the Saarland with its steel companies after the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in 1949. By transferring national powers over the coal and steel production to a newly created ECSC Commission, the member states of the ECSC were able to provide for greater transparency and trust among themselves.
This transfer of national powers to a "Community" to be exercised by its Commission was paralleled under the 1957 Treaty of Rome establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (or Euratom) and the European Economic Community (EEC) in Brussels.
In 1967, the Merger Treaty (or Brussels Treaty) combine the institutions of the ECSC and Euratom into that of the EEC. They already shared a Parliamentary Assembly and Courts. Collectively they were known as the European Communities. In 1987, the Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the Treaty of Rome that formally established the single European market and the European Political Cooperation. The Communities originally had independent personalities although they were increasingly integrated, and over the years were transformed into what is now called the European Union.
Ten founding members
Observer at the Parliamentary Assembly
Observer at the Committee of Ministers
Observer at the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly
"South-south" redirects here. For the Nigerian geopolitical zone, see South South (Nigeria).
South–South Cooperation is a term historically used by policymakers and academics to describe the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries, also known as countries of the Global South.
The formation of SSC can be traced to the Asian–African Conference that took place in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955 which is also known as the Bandung Conference. The conference has been largely regarded as a milestone for SSC cooperation. Indonesia's president at that time, Sukarno, referred to it as "the first intercontinental conference of coloured peoples in the history of mankind." Despite Sukarno's opening address about the conference, there had been gatherings similar to the Bandung conference in the past. Nevertheless the Bandung Conference was distinctive and facilitated the formation of SSC because it was the first time that the countries in attendance were no longer colonies of distant European powers. President Sukarno also famously remarked at the conference that "Now we are free, sovereign, and independent. We are again masters in our own house. We do not need to go to other continents to confer."
The conference was sponsored by India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, and Indonesia and was attended by these 29 independent countries: Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gold Coast, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, State of Vietnam, and the Kingdom of Yemen. Each country supported the continuation of decolonization efforts happening in both Africa and Asia at the time. Although many countries disagreed on some issues, the Bandung Conference "provided the first major instance of the post-colonial countries' collective resistance to Western Dominance in International relations."
In 1978, the United Nations established the Unit for South–South Cooperation to promote South–South trade and collaboration within its agencies.
However, the idea of South–South cooperation only started to influence the field of development in the late 1990s. Due to the geographical spectrum, activities are known as South America-Africa (ASA) cooperation as well as, in the Asia-Pacific region, South–South cooperation.
The ASA cooperation has so far held two summits. The first summit was held in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2006 where 53 delegates from Africa and 12 from South America attended. The second and most recent one was held on the Margarita Island in Venezuela in Sept 2009 where 49 heads of states from Africa and 12 heads of states from South America attended.
South–South cooperation has been successful in decreasing dependence on the aid programs of developed countries and in creating a shift in the international balance of power.
The Leaders of South American and African countries hope that this cooperation will bring a new world order and counter the existing Western dominance socially, economically and politically. Late president Hugo Chávez saw the formation of this cooperation as the "beginning of the salvation of [the] people," and as a major anti-imperialism movement. Like President Hugo Chávez, the ex-Libyan Leader Muammar al-Gaddafi was also very critical of the Western dominance of the "third world" nations.
One of the key goals of the cooperation is to strengthen and improve economic ties. Some of the areas which these "southern" nations look forward to improving further include joint investment in energy and oil, and a common bank. Among other regional trade agreements which were reached during the 2009 summit was Venezuela signing an oil agreement with South Africa and a memorandum of understanding with Sierra Leone to form a joint mining company. Meanwhile, Brazil has developed an increasingly successful model of overseas aid provision of over $1 billion annually (ahead of many traditional donors), which focuses on technical expertise and the transfer of knowledge and expertise. Most of Brazilian aid is allocated to Africa, specifically to Portuguese-speaking African countries, and Latin America. Brazil's form of South–South development aid has been called a 'global model in waiting'.
The two continents have over one quarter of the world's energy resources. This includes the oil and natural gas reserves in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, Chad, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
In recent years, the South–South cooperation has recognized the importance of effective financial inclusion policy in order to better deliver appropriate financial services to the poor. Because of this, financial policy makers from nearly 100 developing and emerging countries now comprise a global knowledge-sharing network called the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI).
Representatives from the developing south meet annually at the Global Policy Forum (GPF), making it the most important and comprehensive forum for regulatory institutions from emerging economies with an interest in promoting financial inclusion policy. The forum is focused on developing and improving national financial inclusion strategies and policies, and is used as a platform for senior financial regulators to exchange ideas and engage in peer-to-peer learning activities.
Banks to finance infrastructure projects
One challenge for South–South cooperation has been the lack of sufficient capital to start a South–South bank as an alternative to the IMF and the World Bank. This has changed with the launch of two new 'South–South banks'.
At the sixth summit of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa), in July 2014, the five partners approved the establishment of the New Development Bank (or BRICS Development Bank), with a primary focus on lending for infrastructure projects. It will be based in Shanghai. A Contingency Reserve Agreement (CRA) has been concluded in parallel to provide the BRICS countries with alternatives to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in times of economic hardship, protect their national economies and strengthen their global position. The Russian Federation is contributing US$18 billion to the CRA, which will be credited by the five partners with a total of over US$100 billion. The CRA is now operational. In 2015 and 2016, work was under way to develop financing mechanisms for innovative projects with the new bank’s resources.
The second new bank is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. It has also been set up to finance infrastructure projects. Spearheaded by China, the bank is based in Beijing. By 2016, more than 50 countries had expressed interest in joining, including a number of developed countries: France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, etc.
Asia–Pacific Free Trade Area
China is spearheading the creation of an Asia–Pacific Free Trade Area, which, according to China’s vision, would override existing bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements in the region. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November 2014 endorsed the Beijing Roadmap for completing a feasibility study by late 2016.
South-South cooperation in science
Role of regional economic communities
Countries of the South are developing cooperation through regional economic communities. For example, the Russian Federation is developing co-operation with Asian partners within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Union. The latter was launched on 1 January 2015 with Belarus and Kazakhstan and has since been extended to Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The Eurasian Economic Union replaces the Eurasian Economic Community. In July 2015, the Russian Federation hosted a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the same city, at which the admission of India and Pakistan was announced.
Regional economic communities have become a conduit for South–South cooperation in science, technology and innovation. For example, Iran’s Nanotechnology Initiative Council established an Econano network in 2008 to promote the scientific and industrial development of nanotechnology among fellow members of the Economic Cooperation Organization, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Countries are also co-operating in science, technology and innovation on a bilateral basis to develop infrastructure and diversify the economy. There is ‘dynamic bilateral collaboration’ between China and the Russian Federation, for instance. This cooperation stems from the Treaty on Good Neighbourliness, Friendship and Co-operation signed by the two countries in 2001, which has given rise to regular four-year plans for its implementation. Dozens of joint large-scale projects are being carried out. They concern the construction of the first super-high-voltage electricity transmission line in China; the development of an experimental fast neutron reactor; geological prospecting in the Russian Federation and China; and joint research in optics, metal processing, hydraulics, aerodynamics and solid fuel cells. Other priority areas for co-operation include industrial and medical lasers, computer technology, energy, the environment and chemistry, geochemistry, catalytic processes and new materials.
Role of regional centres
Increasingly, countries of the South are fostering cooperation in science and technology through regional or international centres. Africa has considerably expanded its networks of centres of excellence since the turn of the century. Most of these networks focus on biosciences but there is also a network in the field of mathematical sciences. Examples are the Bio-Innovate network based in Kenya, which focuses on improving agricultural techniques and developing agro-processing, and the African Biosafety Network of Expertise based in Burkina Faso, which helps regulators deal with safety issues related to the introduction and development of genetically modified organisms. These networks have an Achilles tendon, in that they tend to be reliant on donor funding for their survival.
Many regional and international centres have been set up under the auspices of United Nations agencies. One example is the International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South–South Cooperation (ISTIC) in Malaysia. It was established in 2008 under the auspices of UNESCO. In 2014, the Caribbean network of scientists, Cariscience, ran a training workshop in Tobago on Technopreneurship for the Caribbean, in partnership with ISTIC. Another example is a centre which uses Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME). Most of the eight members of SESAME are developing economies: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. The SESAME centre is being officially inaugurated in May 2017. Iran hosts several international research centres, including the following, which function under the auspices of United Nations bodies: the Regional Centre for Science Park and Technology Incubator Development (UNESCO, est. 2010), the International Centre on Nanotechnology (UNIDO, est. 2012) and the Regional Educational and Research Centre for Oceanography for Western Asia (UNESCO, est. 2014).
Peace and security responsibilities are also on the top of the agenda for cooperation. During the 2009 summit, Colonel Gaddafi proposed a defence alliance between the two continents.[which?] He called the alliance "a Nato of the South." This type of alliance aims to act as an alternative to the Security Council none of whose permanent members is from the two continents.
Another area that some of the leaders intend to see big developments in is in the political arena. This is to say that cooperation will give the continents more political power when it comes to the global arena. Some leaders hope that the cooperation will offer greater freedom in choosing a political system. For example, Hugo Chávez hoped to use South–South cooperation as a stage on which to get his message of what he called "21st Century Socialism" across.
The most apparent critique is that there are just a few voices being heard. These voices are often from the comparatively rich and powerful states of the south (e.g. Brazil, South Africa and Venezuela).
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