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This chapter, by Fijian diplomat Kaliopate Tavola, focuses on the Pacific and assesses the lack of momentum in its relations with the European Union (EU), as well as the weaknesses of Pacific regional integration, despite years of European support. The chapter considers both internal and external factors that have constrained the development of Pacific regionalism. Key internal challenges that the Pacific faces include: the vast economic and political disparities between Pacific countries; the dominance of Australia and New Zealand in the region; and a lack of leadership and political will to deepen Pacific regionalism. In this respect, as Tavola contends, the burden of responsibility for the failures of Pacific regional integration lies in large part within the region itself. At the same time, the EU’s support—provided under the framework of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) group—for the Pacific’s region-building efforts, has not met regional expectations, with Europe’s relationship with the Pacific ACP lacking impetus. Tavola argues in favour of deepening Pacific regionalism to achieve development, supported by a re-vitalised EU-Pacific ACP framework and by an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the EU that takes into account the peculiar features and needs of the Pacific region.
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- The EU and the Pacific: A Tale of Unfulfilled Expectations
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