A new trade policy for Europe under the Europe 2020 Strategy
The broad lines of the European Commission's trade policy are determined by strategy papers.
The new strategy "Trade, growth and global affairs" replaces its predecessor, "Global Europe: competing in the world", but adopts a similar approach by intervening in several issues not directly related to trade, including public procurement and the harmonisation of industrial standards.
The new strategy also contains elements that are problematic from a democratic viewpoint, such as investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, which allow foreign investors to sue a state if they believe that new legislation curbs their profits.
What was the Greens' position?
The Greens believe that European trade policy should be guided by principles other than free-trade dogma.
Trade policy should take on board lessons learnt from the economic and financial crisis.
Should trade policy really only set out to maximise EU exports? Should it not also take into account what is exported under which circumstances?
We think a good trade policy could help to develop a green economy, and not just within the EU. One example of such a policy would entail an efficiency-oriented – as opposed to extraction-oriented – strategy on resources
Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
The Greens succeeded in attenuating the strictly free-trade tone of the text.
We secured majority support for the deletion of statements asserting that the EU should not lead by example in trying to achieve climate goals, that EU-internal policies should be contingent on competitiveness in trade, and that the negative perception of globalisation is simply a consequence of insufficient communication.
Which points did the Greens lose?
The Greens were outvoted on several amendments geared towards ensuring the report's consistency.
The adopted text does call for greater respect for human rights in the context of trade, but it also argues in favour of greater trade liberalisation.
In addition, it demands better solutions to global challenges, but sees these challenges in emerging economies, not in issues like climate change and global inequalities.
The Green positions were opposed not only by the EPP, but also by the S&D, which continues to support the Commission's free-trade agenda.
Lead MEP:Daniel Caspary (EPP)
Green MEP responsible:Yannick Jadot
Staff contact:Martin Köhler (Email)
Outcome of the vote
Below you find the results of the final vote in plenary. How did the political groups vote? What about national delegations? And what was the position of your MEP?