Trade isn’t working
The EU has played a significant role in causing and exacerbating the current crises in the economy, food, energy and the environment. Its trade and investment policy, driven by the logic of competition, exacerbates inequality and exploitation and deprives countries and communities of the opportunity to realise social, cultural, political and other human rights. It prevents them from regulating their economies in the interest of development, the environment and social justice.
One primary reason for this is the erosion of democracy: European trade and investment policy has become dominated by a narrow set of interests. At present, there is no meaningful involvement of Parliamentarians, even less participation by ordinary people and no significant public debate. All too often the main lines of policy reflect the interests of corporate lobbyists. EU trade policy needs to be fundamentally democratised, as part of a wider democratisation of Europe.
There are alternatives to the current trade and investment regime and they are gaining support around the world. At a local level, alliances between producers and consumers are supporting organic, environmentally-friendly and ethical means of production and trading. Public authorities source goods and services that are produced in a fair and sustainable way. Progressive governments in the South are trying to bring about trade and investment policies that are based on mutual support and public need, rather than competition and the accumulation of profit.