Global Europe: Opening markets is a win-win for Europe and its partners.

Daniel Caspary MEP (EPP-ED/D)

“I have great expectations of what will happen in the future. Opening markets will benefit not only us but also developing countries”, said EPP-ED Member Daniel Caspary MEP today, commenting on today’s adoption of his report on external aspects of Europe’s competitiveness in Strasbourg.

“As the biggest internal market in the world, Europe has an important position to continue being successful. We have to make sure that not only internally the right conditions are provided, but that also externally the economic conditions for Europe are done justice”, said Caspary. The Commission’s 2006 Communication on Global Europe was an important contribution to setting out this trade strategy. According to Parliament, this strategy needs some fine-tuning in order to look past the short term.

The EU’s performance, in relation to already developed and emerging economies, is negatively affected by a lack of reciprocity in market access conditions, insufficient compliance with agreed trade rules and proliferation of unfair trading practices.

“Europe needs open markets. The European Union like no other trading partner opened its markets and profited to a considerable degree from it. The international trade system is characterized, however, by the fact that this openness is not practiced everywhere. The European Union should therefore move with their trade partners to further market opening according to the principle of the mutuality.

“It is regrettable that EU citizens equate globalisation with falling European output and job losses. These concerns must be tackled and European policy must be able to provide convincing answers to them. There is a need for implementing reforms to enable the EU to take advantage of globalisation. Concluding the multilateral WTO Doha negotiations must be the EU’s first priority.”

Bilateral and regional FTAs are a sub-optimal, an emergency solution, and if pursued must be subject to certain restrictions. New bilateral or regional free trade initiatives should only be launched when necessary to improve the competitive position of EU exporters on crucial foreign markets.

Experience shows that the countries with the greatest involvement in international trade also benefit greatly from it. The pursuit of further trade liberalisation makes it all the more necessary for the EU to preserve its ability to protect itself against unfair trading practices. In that regard, a clear border must be drawn between protection of the fair competition and protectionism. Therefore, Trade Defence Instruments should be an indispensable component of the EU’s strategy for external competitiveness.