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Lessons from the European Union’s Economic Integration for South Asian Regionalism
journal contributionposted on 2022-10-26, 03:42 authored by Zahid Ahmed, M Hussain
South Asian regionalism—mainly represented by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)—has always been vulnerable to the influence of the long-standing bilateral disputes, and South Asian intra-regional trade and economic cooperation is limited. This article examines economic integration in Europe, from the 1950s to Britain’s decision to exit from the European Union (EU) in 2016, in order to identify possible lessons for the SAARC. In particular, this article makes use of Gürler’s model of economic integration to propose a way forward for economic cooperation through the SAARC. While the full implementation of the EU’s model of economic integration appears to be a distant reality for the SAARC, this article argues that a revitalized SAARC is nonetheless a suitable vehicle for pursuing a gradual process of economic cooperation in South Asia that may ultimately lead not only to economic integration but also the resolution of political disputes.