Regionalism on the Run: ASEAN, EU, AU and MERCOSUR Responses Amid the COVID-19 Crisis


Abstract


The transnational nature of COVID-19 created expectations of regionally-led initiatives to address this global challenge. The pandemic has transcended health issues accounting for several political and socioeconomic implications. This study seeks to investigate four regional organisations' responses during the 'first wave' to unravel regionalism's role in a time of crisis. To do so, the method of comparative analysis has been employed. ASEAN, EU, AU and MERCOSUR, four distinct organisations were selected to evaluate their responses in terms of crisis management efficacy, level of solidarity, promotion of multilateralism and international actorness. The findings highlight each organisation's successes and shortcomings while indicating the limits of regional cooperation in effectively responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases. This empirical analysis shows that regional responses were limited and mainly facilitated national policies. This further indicates regional organisations' inability to have a more proactive role in crisis management, boost their actorness and advance more inclusive and responsive global governance.

Keywords: regionalism; COVID-19; EU; MERCOSUR; ASEAN; AU

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