Regional Economic Integration and the Reality of Strong National Constitutional Powers in South America. A Comparative Analysis
This paper contributes to the discussion on the potential of today’s regional economic integration projects in South America. The starting point is a global mapping exercise of constitutional references to regionalism, which allows locating and typifying the South American constitutional contexts in comparison to global patterns. This global analysis is then connected to the context of South American constitutionalism, on the one hand, and the institutionalization of the various sub-regional economic integration schemes, on the other. The article finds that although South American constitutions refer more frequently to regionalism than the global average and incorporate clauses that promote regional cooperation and integration, very often these clauses are compensated by other clauses that seek the protection of national sovereignty and safeguard the absolute supremacy of the national constitutional framework. This helps to explain the inherent limitations of South American regional economic integration projects towards the future, and non-compliance with regional rules in the past.