A Comparative Appraisal of the Western European Union and Other European Regional Organizations

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A COMPARATIVE APPRAISAL OF THE WESTERN EUROPEAN UNION AND OTHER EUROPEAN REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS BY ODERINDE MOSOPE* The saying that no entity in existence is an island unto itself is one that is indeed very pertinent; the symbiosis of nation states within the international order lends credence to this assertion. Thus a rapport is established among members of this community in order to survive as evident in agreements of friendship, trade and commerce which they contract with one another. Also worthy of note, is the fact that these states are considered as the major players in international politics and international organisations provide the platform for their activities.1 A lot of opinions on what ‘Regional Organisation’ means have been put forward but one cannot undertake an examination of the term without initially having an idea of what an international organisation is since regional organizations are international too (they involve different nations), though restricted to a particular region. _________________________________________________________________________________ * International Law and Diplomacy Post-graduate Student, University of Lagos. 1 Solomon O. Akinboye and Ferdinand O. Ottoh, A Systematic Approach to International Relations, (2005), (Concept Publications, Lagos) p. 165.

According to Plato and Olton (1988), an international organization is a ‘formal arrangement transcending national boundaries that provides for the establishment of an institutional machinery to facilitate cooperation among members in security, economic, social or related fields’.2 Palmer and Perkins (1969) defines international organisations as any cooperative arrangement instituted among states usually by a basic agreement, to perform some mutually advantageous functions implemented through periodic meetings and staff activities.3 Such organisations possess a structure established by agreements (a charter) among the sovereign states that make up the forum, with the goal of achieving the aims and protecting their common interests. In the same vein, as said from the outset, there is a trend for sovereign states to form regional movements or groupings, which are deemed more vital and important than the independent sovereign states in order for an effective integration and mutual relations among such sovereign units. ____________________________________________________________________________2 J.C. Plano and R. Otton, The International Relations Dictionary, (4th ed. 1998), (ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA) p. 416. 3 Norman D. Palmer and Howard C. Perkins, International Relations: The World Community in Transition (1969), (Houghton Miffin Company, New York) p. 299.

Within the domestic discourse, a region refers to an area in a sovereign territory i.e they are smaller than states e.g the defunct Western Region of Nigeria while in the global sense, it an area encapsulating the territories of three or more states. Such states are bound together by ties of common interest as well as geography. However their attributes may vary. They may not be found in the same continent e.g. NATO and the Commonwealth or possess the same political systems but they may share certain obvious traits, like language, common interest, historical, spiritual and cultural activities.4 In consequence, there is a joint responsibility for the amicable settlement of disputes when they arise in order not to truncate the peace and security in their respective regions thereby jeopardizing their interests economically and culturally.5 Thus a regional organisation is a type of international organisation which is an association of a segment of the world bound together by a common set of objectives based on geographical, social, cultural, economic and political ties possessing a formal structure.

_________________________________________________________________________________________ 4 Supra note 1 p. 168.
5 Supra note 3 p. 559.
Undertaking a comparative...
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