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Reactive not strategic EU policy towards the Central American Common Market.

Arantza Gomez Arana
The University of Northumbria at Newcastle
Arantza Gomez Arana
The University of Northumbria at Newcastle
Open Panel

Abstract

Research on EU inter-regionalism is at its very first stage both analytically and empirically, although that does not mean is a new EU feature -it started in the 1960s with the Yaounde I and II in 1963 and 1969- through which it coordinates trade, aid and political dialogue. One of the last cases is the successful agreement with the Central American Common Market (CACM) signed in May 2010 during the Spanish Presidency. The case of EU-CACM is very particular because it is a region where the EU has been involved in one way or another since 1984 through the San Jose process, but it did not intend to have an agreement of this type with the region until recently. As well, this is the only successful case of inter-regionalism with Latin America. In the case of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) is still being negotiated, in the case of the Andean Community at economic level it was not possible to sign an agreement as a group. Moreover, the negotiations of the EU-CACM agreement happened at the same time than the coup d’état in Honduras (June 2009) and the undemocratic posterior election of Porfirio Lobo (November 2009) as president of the country. The reaction (or lack of it) of the EU to this undemocratic behaviour is crucial to understand the reasons behind the EU policy towards Central America. This paper follows the work of Edwards and Regelbersger (1990) which can be considered the starting point of the study of inter-regionalism in academia from an analytical point of view. Also this paper considers the work of Jorg Monar (1997) for the argument. This paper argues that this case of inter-regionalism is not based on normative or economic or security reasons, but Spanish Europeanization of its own national foreign policy in that region.