Reflection paper on harnessing globalisation

08-09-2017

Globalisation is nothing new; it is centuries old and has always contributed significantly to boosting growth and creating employment. It goes beyond the mere circulation of commercial goods, and more recently services, as it is a way to exchange ideas, spur discovery and innovation, and increase competitiveness. However, for some, globalisation is synonymous with unfair trade practices, job losses and the offshoring of firms, and there has recently been a backlash, culminating in the failure of multilateral trade agreements. Calls for protectionism are all the while growing louder. As part of its wider exercise to modernise the EU, which is now centred on the white paper on the future of Europe, the Commission published a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation in May 2017. The paper identifies both an acceleration and a transformation of globalisation, making it unescapable, and the Commission therefore strongly supports keeping markets open. Nevertheless, it also advocates shaping globalisation in order to spread core European values, such as human rights. The EU's external response should be based on international cooperation, economic diplomacy and ensuring a level playing field. The policy areas covered would range from trade to environment, and from sustainable development to investment. In parallel, the EU's internal response would aim to increase resilience through improved sharing of the benefits of globalisation, and promoting European industry's long-term competitiveness. Reinforcement of the internal market and using the European Semester for improved coordination of economic policies is also advocated in connection with harnessing globalisation, as is targeted support for regions. This briefing is one of a series on the European Commission's reflection papers following up the March 2017 White Paper on the Future of Europe.

Globalisation is nothing new; it is centuries old and has always contributed significantly to boosting growth and creating employment. It goes beyond the mere circulation of commercial goods, and more recently services, as it is a way to exchange ideas, spur discovery and innovation, and increase competitiveness. However, for some, globalisation is synonymous with unfair trade practices, job losses and the offshoring of firms, and there has recently been a backlash, culminating in the failure of multilateral trade agreements. Calls for protectionism are all the while growing louder. As part of its wider exercise to modernise the EU, which is now centred on the white paper on the future of Europe, the Commission published a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation in May 2017. The paper identifies both an acceleration and a transformation of globalisation, making it unescapable, and the Commission therefore strongly supports keeping markets open. Nevertheless, it also advocates shaping globalisation in order to spread core European values, such as human rights. The EU's external response should be based on international cooperation, economic diplomacy and ensuring a level playing field. The policy areas covered would range from trade to environment, and from sustainable development to investment. In parallel, the EU's internal response would aim to increase resilience through improved sharing of the benefits of globalisation, and promoting European industry's long-term competitiveness. Reinforcement of the internal market and using the European Semester for improved coordination of economic policies is also advocated in connection with harnessing globalisation, as is targeted support for regions. This briefing is one of a series on the European Commission's reflection papers following up the March 2017 White Paper on the Future of Europe.