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 Full text 
Tuesday, 26 November 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Crisis of the WTO Appellate Body (debate)

  Anna-Μichelle Asimakopoulou (PPE). – Madam President, Madam Commissioner, we are facing a reality, and the reality is that in two weeks the Appellate Body is not going to be able to operate because it will have less than three judges. Ambassador Walker has put forward workable proposals and already interim arbitration solutions are in place with Canada and Norway. We recognise, of course, that the Commission has really made some very concrete proposals about WTO reform, not just on dispute settlement but on other matters – on rule-making and enforcement.

As we move toward the ministerial conference in Kazakhstan next summer, I think we need to face a truth, and the truth is that this is an enduring and a very deep crisis in the WTO. You asked us to send a strong message and, with this resolution, we will do so. We send a message to the Commission and to the WTO members that efforts need to continue in order to unblock the Appellate dispute and the appointment of judges. But I think we also need to remember, and to remind European citizens, that the WTO has been, with all its shortcomings, a very effective guardian to date of our rules—based multilateral trading system. It’s safeguarded order and fairness and given us a level playing field. And these are things which we take for granted.

I’d just like to close by saying that the paralysis in the Appellate Body is not inevitable, even though we treat it as such. Maybe we need to remember that the very existence of WTO is not inevitable either.

Last updated: 9 December 2019Legal notice