The European Union (EU) perceives itself as a model for regional integration, which it seeks to diffuse by actively promoting the development of genuine (intra-) regional economic and political cooperation, the building of issue-related regimes, and the creation of joint institutions for consultation and decision-making in its neighbourhood and beyond as well as between the world regions and the EU.
In this paper, we explore the extent to which EU has sought to promote regional integration beyond its borders. More specifically, we analyze what exactly the EU seeks to export and how it has used its external relations and foreign policy to foster the cooperation between regions (inter-regionalism), on the one hand, and regional cooperation among third countries, on the other. We proceed in three steps. The first part of the paper outlines the mechanisms and instruments through which the EU diffuses the idea of regional integration to other regions and fosters regional integration among third countries. In the second part, we take stock of the EU’s attempts to export regional integration focusing on the mechanisms it has drawn upon. We conclude with some considerations to what extent the promotion of regional integration constitutes a genuine EU agenda for global governance.