Globalisation is the greatest challenge facing EU citizens, suggested MEPs during a debate Tuesday with Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen when they welcomed the Commission’s recent assessment of globalisation.

Globalisation puts immense pressure on jobs, wages and standards, while also feeding populism, said many MEPs. They called for better protection for EU industry and workers and urged the EU to take the driving seat in promoting fair global trade. “We must be rule makers, not rule takers”, they said.


A number of MEPs called for an action plan “to avoid a social race to the bottom” and proposed better redistribution of globalisation’s benefits by member states to their citizens. Some MEPs believe that the current form of globalisation is a dead-end street and free trade has seriously undermined democracy, social rights and the environment. “Business as usual” won’t help Europeans, they said. Other MEPs called for a fair tax system that would not allow big companies to dodge paying their fair share.


Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said global trade boosted EU economic growth, but that benefits are neither automatic nor evenly distributed. The EU needs to push for new rules to create a level playing field and address tax evasion, state subsidies or social dumping. Effective trade defence instruments and a multilateral investment court could also help in this process. On the domestic front, Mr Katainen suggested that robust social policies and education and training could help protect and empower citizens.


Click on individual names to watch the full statements


Jyrki KATAINEN, for the Commission


Françoise GROSSETÊTE (EPP, FR)


Jeppe KOFOD (S&D,DK)


Hans-Olaf HENKEL (ECR, DE)


Marietje SCHAAKE (ADLE, NL)


Helmut SCHOLZ  (GUE/NGL, DE)


Yannick JADOT (Greens/EFA, FR)


Rolandas PAKSAS (EFDD, LT)


Edouard FERRAND (ENF, FR)



Background:


The debate follows last week’s reflection paper on globalisation by the Commission. It is part of a much broader discussion on the future of Europe, which started with a Parliament resolution in February and an EU Commission White paper outlining five possible scenarios. The Parliament has long insisted that  globalisation should work for Europeans.