Introduction: The EU as a Global Actor and the Role of Interregionalism

Publication Date: 
01 January 2005
Publication Place: 
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Appearing in: 
Journal of European Integration

This article introduces the topic of this special issue, namely the study of the EU as a global actor and the role of interregionalism. It starts with mapping out the general theme and the key questions that guide the issue, such as: to what extent are regions becoming ‘actors’ of world politics; what is the strength of interregionalism in the EU’s foreign policies towards regions and across sectors; why is interregionalism being pursued and who are the actors driving such policy; and what are the implications for world order and global governance? Region–to–region interactions are no novelty, as such, but they have only recently started to emerge on a more comprehensive scale. Interregionalism is related to changes in world order and needs therefore to be historically situated. The authors suggest that interregionalism needs to be related both to globalisation and to the restructuring of the nation–state, but above all to ‘the regionalist movement’. In the second section, the emergence of interregionalism is presented from an historical perspective and the concept of interregionalism is discussed. The article ends with a brief overview of the structure and content of the special issue as a whole.