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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter compares the law and practice of regional organizations regarding their engagement with international institutions. This includes treaty-making, joining and participating in international organizations, and the question to which extent member states are being replaced by their regional organizations. The chapter uses the European Union and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as case studies given that they represent two radically different forms of regional integration. While the former is a case of deep, supranational sovereignty-pooling, the latter is an example of distinctly sovereignty-friendly intergovernmental cooperation. Both ASEAN and the European Union have codified sets of internal norms for conducting their external relations. Both are avid treaty-makers and interact systematically with international institutions. However, this chapter explains how the difference in the organizations’ internal modes of operation translates into different approaches in their external relations. The European Union’s highly formalized approach leads to taking on a state-like position in many situations, but without always replacing its member states. By contrast, ASEAN’s sensitivity toward national sovereignty results in its member states and the Association never appearing together. It is always either one or the other that engages internationally. ASEAN member states interact with other powers, whereas ASEAN as a legal person interacts with other international organizations, with the one exception—the European Union.

Keywords: Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Brexit, comparative analysis, European Union, foreign relations law, international institutions, mixed agreements, regional integration, regional organizations

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