Regional integration has been defined as the process by which independent nation-states “voluntarily mix, merge and mix with their neighbours to lose the factual attributes of sovereignty while acquiring new conflict-resolution techniques among themselves.”  De Lombaerde and Van Langenhove describe it as a global phenomenon of territorial systems that increases interactions between their components and creates new forms of organization that coexist with traditional forms of state organization at the national level.  Some scientists see regional integration as the process by which states in a given region strengthen their interaction at the economic, security or social and cultural level.  Closer integration of neighbouring economies has often been seen by governments as a first step towards creating a broader regional market for trade and investment. The aim is to increase efficiency, productivity and competitiveness, not only by removing border barriers, but also by reducing other costs and risks associated with trade and investment. Bilateral and sub-regional trade agreements have been approved by governments as instruments of economic development as they have focused on promoting economic deregulation. These agreements were also aimed at reducing the risk of a return to protectionism by adjusting reforms already under way and encouraging further structural adjustments. 19. Andzej Arendarski, Ludovit Cernak, Vladimir Dlouhy and Bela Kadar, “Central European Free Trade Agreement”, 21 December 1992, called 30 April 2011 www.worldtradelaw.net/fta/agreements/cefta.pdf. Over the past decade, regional integration has accelerated and deepened around the world, in Latin America and North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, with the formation of new alliances and trading blocs. However, critics of the forms that have adopted this integration have consistently pointed out that the forms of regional integration that have been promoted are often neoliberal in nature, in line with the motivations and values of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – promoting the deregulation of financial markets, removing barriers to global capital and businesses, their owners and investors; The focus on industrialization, the increase in the volume of world trade and the increase in GDP. This has been accompanied by a sharp increase in global inequality, worsening environmental problems due to industrial development, displacement of formerly rural communities, the steady increase of urban slums, rising unemployment and reduced social and environmental protection.