Latin America: Going the Way of the EU?

UNASUR summit in Santiago, Chile.

Council on Foreign Relations – Reporter Shannon O’Neil recently published an article titled “Latin America: Community Building Across Borders” describing, well, just that: the incredible mobility afforded to the Latin America region.

The informal intersections of Latin Americans across the region pressure changes in government policies and drive Latin America’s integration. Assisted by increased travel options, relaxed visa restrictions, and better communication technologies more and more citizens have made the decision to move within the region. Strengthening ties between countries through community networks, Latin America’s people are and will be just as important for regional integration as the formal treaties their governments create.

This harks back to around 1951 when the first glimmers of the European Union emerged with the Treaty of Paris, forming the European Coal and Steel Community. More so, it is evocative of the later 1957 Treaty of Rome in which “common” was very much the operative word. Through the final half of the 20th century, these treaties along with the 1993 Maastricht Treaty and the more recent 2009 Treaty of Lisbon were quite literally formative of the EU. The ultimate goal of this project can be summarized in a single word: integration. The very word featured in the opening sentence of O’Neil’s article.

Like O’Neil points out, not only does this integration exist on a governmental level but extends to the social and cultural spheres. The similarities between the EU and Latin America are thus deeper than political agreements such as the Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance. There exists a truly permeating interconnectedness.

Perhaps the world will soon witness the creation of a Latin-bloc (a Latinozone) with its own currency, forcing the USA to manipulate its own markets to accommodate the subsequently new standards and fresh competition as it did with the EU. Or maybe the USA will be left in the dust.


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