New Governance and Neofunctionalism: Assessing Regulatory Regionalism as a Critical Juncture for Regional Integration

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Alvin Almendrala Camba, University College London


    While some scholars have called for a reassessment of neofunctionalism, little theoretical work has been done to study the potential conditions that could contribute to the project of building a rigorous, cutting edge model that could demonstrate the link between spillovers and regional integration. By looking at the concept of regional regulatory regionalism, the paper proposes to integrate public policy and international relations literature. The paper argues that potential regional integration, or disintegration, takes place at the critical juncture of regulatory regionalism. The concept goes back to a synthesis of regulation and regionalisation’s theoretical foundations – new governance and new regionalism – that converge at important ‘post-national’ premises. The three premises are the delegation to, and importance of, state, non-state, and semi-state actors in cooperative, non-hierarchical governing decisions; the technological and sectoral complexity of an ever changing political world order; and the increasing saliency and importance of discourse and ideas as bridges in making sense of persistent, regional dilemmas. States have been delegating regulatory powers to non-majoritarian institutions because of the mentioned reasons—technological complexity and the need for expertise. Although regulation within state institutions remains important, its bridge comes at the proliferating saliency of pooling functional capacities amongst states. Such functional pooling is often mediated by global regulatory regimes but it also happens at the regional level through regional organisations. The tension for integration, the paper argues, happens mainly at the regional level where states negotiate to whether and to what extent decisions are given to regulatory networks; conversely, once regulatory networks gain capacity, tensions take place when they disobey the original intentions of states and pursue governance quietly.