The following is an introduction to some of the more prominent regional organizations. However, it is simply an introduction, as there is a vast group of regional organizations. States often share common regional interests and therefore find it easier to collaborate within a single region. Each organization tends to be distinct according to the desires of its constituents. Some regional organizations, like the EU, have such binding authority that they can overrule the national laws of one of their member states, while others, like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), have based their organization on the principles of non-intervention in domestic affairs.
- Association of Southeast Asian Nations:The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), founded in 1967, currently counts ten Southeast Asian states as its members. The twin goals of ASEAN are to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development and to promote regional peace and security. ASEAN has played a critical role within the Southeast Asian region in establishing understandings related to free trade, nuclear weapons, and relations with other regional organizations.
- European Union:The European Union (EU) is perhaps one of the most fully integrated and functioning regional organizations. It has its own judicial system, own currency, and has the ability to create a cohesive foreign policy. Currently it has 27 member States. The EU includes:
- European Parliament: elected directly by the citizens of member states;
- Council of the EU: representing governments of member states;
- European Commission: serving as the executive body of the EU;
- Court of Justice: adjudicating matters under EU laws;
- Court of Auditors: managing the EU budget;
- European Ombudsman: providing oversight for EU institutions; and,
- European Data Protection Supervisor: protecting personal data and information
- Organization of American States:All 35 States of the American Hemisphere have ratified the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS was officially established in 1948, though its foundation is based on a long history of cooperation within the Americas region. While the OAS has some similar institutional features to the EU, the American region has chosen not to integrate their political and economic systems as closely as the EU.While there is an Inter-American Court of Human Rights, an Inter-American Development Bank, and a Permanent Council, the OAS has not been given as much authority over domestic policy as the EU member states have vested in the EU.
For more information on the European Union, refer to the Migration Issue in Depth (EU Integration).