New EU trade policy a ‘failed agenda'

9 November 2010 - 10:43am
Press release

Blueprint makes poor pay for crisis – charity

The new trade policy launched today by the EU is a failed agenda that will make working people around the world pay for the economic crisis facing many European countries.

This warning comes from the British charity War on Want, which condemns the EU for seeking to force open world markets for the benefit of European business with no regard for the social or environmental consequences.

War on Want says the new policy, which sets out the EU's commercial relations with the rest of the world for the next five years, is based on the same neoliberal agenda which sparked the economic crisis, costing tens of millions of jobs.

The charity criticises the EU for seeking to hasten the Doha Round of global trade negotiations to a conclusion by end 2011, despite the acknowledged damage this will cause to the most vulnerable communities around the world.

War on Want also condemns the policy for aggressively seeking to plunder the natural resources of Africa and Asia for the benefit of European business, rather than allowing developing countries to use those resources for their own needs.

John Hilary, War on Want's executive director, said: "The EU's new trade policy could not be more regressive if it tried. Instead of developing positive new strategies for jobs and welfare, the EU is seeking to revive the failed neoliberal agenda of the past 30 years. This policy will benefit nobody except multinational companies, at the expense of ordinary working people the world over."

The new EU trade policy, entitled 'Trade, Growth and World Affairs', plans to introduce a retaliatory system whereby developing countries could be penalised for not opening their public procurement markets to European business, despite the damage that this could cause to social and environmental goals.

The EU is also treating important domestic laws and regulations as 'barriers to business', rather than as essential guarantees of social and environmental standards.

Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU has taken over responsibility for the negotiation of investment treaties, and is now considering the introduction of stand-alone agreements with countries such as China.

The new trade policy also calls for continued deregulation of financial services, despite the fact that this contradicts global calls to impose tighter controls on the sector.

NOTE TO EDITORS: John Hilary, War on Want's executive director and an expert on EU trade policy, is available for interview on the new EU document.

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media officer (+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728




This webpage has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this webpage are the sole responsibility of War on Want and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.



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