Monday, May 26, 2008

A South American Union

Something I missed: on Friday, South American leaders got together and signed a treaty founding a South American Union along the lines of the EU. Like the EU, this has developed out of earlier regional integration - the Andean Community and Mercosur trade pacts, the Latin American Parliament, the Banco del Sur - which have been combined and given political direction. The new union will work towards economic development, a single market and common currency, the free movement of peoples and deeper political integration, with full union expected by 2019. Meanwhile, the US's proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas rots on the sidelines. South American governments want economic integration, but they want it on their own terms, rather than being dictated to by the US.

Whether this project is successful or not remains to be seen. But its a good start, and it will be interesting to watch.