GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Brexit and the Gulf: Disintegration and the future of Regional Organizations
Paper Proposal Text :
The European integration was presented as one of the successful models for integration for decades. It was able not just to prevent further war and conflict in the European continent after the Second World War, but was able to instill a cooperative dynamic among past enemies. Functional and Neo-functional theories in international relations built itself on the European integration. No doubt, Brexit would have an impact on all the literature concerning integration, as well as, regional organizations like Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
According to some observers, Disintegration of the European Union is hardly surprising since most of the regional integration efforts since the Second World War, either failed to fulfill their initial commitment or collapsed altogether. Therefore, the EU was the exception rather than the norm.
Integration efforts within GCC is also witnessing some challenges, since there was already resentment among member states, especially Oman, towards further integration. Economic integration is facing some hurdles, despite achieving some progress. Security cooperation among member states are also facing serious challenges. Iran is seen as an existential threat to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, but not to Oman or Qatar.
Against this background, a study of the causes of the British withdrawal from the EU is important. First: An understanding of the logic of disintegration in the European case would help us understand similar trends elsewhere. Second: Functionalism and neo-functionalism approaches to integration emphasized the role of cooperation in non-political spheres, and predicted that benefits from such a cooperation would “spillover” to other fields. Brexit represent a contradictory development to such assumption, which warrant further study.
One of the main causes of disintegration is the devastating economic crisis that inflicted the European Union. So, one of the main factors that pushed towards more integration was also responsible for its current crisis.
Security concerns came among the possible reasons for Brexit, especially when dealing with immigrants and security threats like terrorism. Many British came to believe that their country’s security is affected by other EU countries policies, which is seen as ineffective or inefficient. This was evident when France and Belgium were hit by terrorist attacks, and their security apparatuses were blamed for not being able to thwart terrorist attacks.
Another cause may be the resurgent of National Identities, as evident in the insistence of the British to preserve their own identity in face of European identity. In addition, it should be taken in consideration that there are rising voices in different European countries, especially from populist parties, who are trying to quit the European project. Even François Fillon, the conservative front-runner in France’s presidential race, pledged to ignore the Schengen open borders agreement, and re-instate “real” border controls to prevent the influx of migrants and restrict the entry of terrorists. So, what appeared as a fringe calls, may turn to a mainstream in a number of European countries, posing questions about the future of the European project itself.
Taking this in consideration, The paper will like to first pinpoint the causes of Brexit, and assess the strength of similar trends inside the EU. Second, explain the measures Brussels may adopt to prevent further disintegration, and keep the unity of its member states. Third, clarify the probable impact of Brexit on GCC. Finally, analyze the lessons from disintegration to inform future integration projects.