Regionalism and political pepresentation in comparativeperspective: the European Union and MERCOSUL


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This paper aims to explore the consequences of institutionalization in regional integration processes. More specifically, it explores the creation of representative regional institutions which strengthen integration, while at the same time affecting the distribution of sovereign and representative powers among the players involved in the policy-making process within member states. The premise is that institutionalization at a regional level brings gains in strategic actions and more efficient mechanisms of collective international action, on one hand, but on the other, it can have a democratic cost, in terms of a society's participation and control over collective decisions which impact the national decision-making process. In the case of the Latin American integration process, the initiative of setting up a regional parliament for MERCOSUL, the PARLASUL, must be understood within the problematic context of the effects of regional representation on national sovereignty. Thus, although with some limitations, the European experience serves as a parallel to the initiatives of establishing regional parliaments. The paper is divided into three sections: the first is historical and theoretical; it covers the origin and transformations of the modern sovereign state system, along with the changes that have occurred over time from regional integration events and their differences. Some concepts and classic theoretical approaches on the topic are reference sources, such as the contributions of Schmitter (1970), Mattli (1999) and Fawcett and Hurrell (2003), for example. In the second section, one of the characteristics of the new regionalism is explored: institutional innovation (HURRELL, 1995). In this case, the aim is to further verify the impact of regional integration on national politics, the role of the regional parliaments and the purpose of extra-state representation, its different models and its consequences for national sovereignty of states involved in the integration process. The dialogue with different points of view will be fundamental, especially in order to draft analytical dimensions of the impact of the changes that occurred with the emergence of a new form of regional representation (FAWCETT; HURRELL, 2003; MALAMUD; SOUZA, 2005; DRI, 2009; 2010; LINDBERG, 1963). Could an extra form of representation come at a cost of the suppression of less opportunity for participation? In the third section, the relation between representation and sovereignty is evaluated, as well as the role of representative institutions in policy making (KEOHANE; HOFFMANN, 1991; RITTBERGER, 2012; JACOB, 2007). In this section, the experience of the European Parliament will shed light on the analysis of the constitution of a representative institution on a regional level, such as the one expected by the PARLASUL. Finally, the article traces a few conclusions on representation in the context of regional integration processes and the importance of information and social awareness of such processes as a measure of democratic legitimacy.

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