Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme


How do different regions in Europe, Asia, Latin-America and Africa organize their regional collaboration? And what can be learn from these different regions to make the EU itself leaner, smarter and more legitimate?

Armin Cuyvers
Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

These are the main questions for CompaRe, a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on comparative regional integration. 

For the first time, CompaRe unites leading Leiden experts on regional integration with experts on Africa, Asia and Latin-America. This collaboration enables systematic, comparative and multidisciplinary research and teaching on regional integration, with a particular EU focus. The centre thereby elevates current research and teaching on regional integration and helps find innovative solutions to problems shared by regional organizations, including the EU. Within this overall objective the centre focusses on three core questions:

  1. What can the EU learn from other forms of regional integration, and what can they learn from the EU?
  2. How to reduce the sovereignty, democracy and administrative costs of effective integration (Smart, Lean and Legitimate Integration)?
  3. How to manage the increasing proliferation and overlap of regional organizations?

Global network on regional integration

CompaRe also brings together fragmented contacts with universities and regional institutions into a global network on regional integration. This network supports research and teaching but also allows effective global dissemination to key stakeholders and the broader public.

Through its activities, ComPare aims to contribute to improving the effectiveness, stability and legitimacy of regional organizations across the globe, and thereby to addressing some of the most urgent challenges facing our shared future. After all, regional integration is key to meeting the challenges of our globalizing world. Challenges like climate change, migration, or the social and economic disruption caused by the Fourth Industrial Revolution cannot be solved by individual states. Yet getting regional integration right is hard. It requires redesigning government, administration and even democracy itself, whilst respecting the unique political, economic, and cultural context of a region. Consequently, many regional organizations are struggling. This includes the EU, which is often seen as the primary model for other forms of regional integration but is now facing existential questions itself.

Leading experts on the EU and regional integration

CompaRe unites expertise on two levels. Firstly, it brings together leading experts on the EU and regional integration that are currently spread over the faculties of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA), Humanities, Law, Social and Behavioural Science (SBC), as well as Leiden University Campus (LUC). Secondly, CompaRe connects this integration expertise with high level expertise on Asia, Africa and Latin America, key areas for comparative regional integration. To this end, the centre connects senior researchers from the African Studies Centre, the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and the Leiden Latin American and Caribbean Centre (LLACC).

The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. 
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