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24. Januar 2022: An EU trade policy for true change on the ground

If we want EU trade policy to become truly sustainable before the end of this legislature, the Commission and the Council need to step up their game, a group of MEPs write, presenting their New Year’s resolution to contribute to global fairness.

This opinion piece is co-signed by a group of members of the European Parliament (full list at the bottom) and published exclusively by EURACTIV.

Starting with a positive note, one can say that trade policy – despite its technical nature – has never been as much in the spotlight. The COVID pandemic and the disruptions it has created in global supply chains, has further put it on the focus of –very legitimate – citizens’ concerns.

From higher awareness of the environmental impacts of some commodities to human rights (think of the Uyghurs’ situation), citizens from all over Europe have shown a high level of interest in global trade and its impact. We view this as a necessary and democratic step forward in trade discussions that should be taken into account by all EU institutions.

Despite these developments, the Commission and the Council have not put their money where their mouth is.

Not only has the Council been unable to agree on a position on the European Commission’s Trade Policy Review, but the European Commission itself has also been dragging its feet on presenting legislation on due diligence as well as on forced labour.

If we want EU trade policy to become truly sustainable before the end of this legislature, the Commission and the Council need to step up their game.

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