EU trade policy should focus on environment and human rights

10 May 2017

The European Commission today released new proposals for how the European Union deals with globalization issues.

Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth Europe reacted to the 'Harnessing Globalisation' paper:

"This is a positive step from the European Commission which is finally acknowledging that globalization comes with great costs for workers, the environment and communities and that these costs are largely born by citizens with lower incomes. But the Commission doesn't seem to be very serious about addressing the negative impacts of globalization as it is mainly proposing business as usual in its trade agenda. To start to be serious the Commission needs to end VIP rights for investors in trade agreements. In this paper, it is proposing exactly the opposite with plans for an unfair Multilateral Investment Court mechanism. That will only benefit multinationals at the expense of normal citizens and the environment.

"The EU needs a trade policy that first and foremost focuses on what really matters for citizens, such as safe food, a healthy work place, a clean environment, and respect for human rights.

"While the Commission states that irresponsible companies should be held to account, it doesn't propose any measures to help people whose rights have been violated or whose land and resources have been grabbed by oil and mining companies, food multinationals and investors in deforestation. These are the obvious victims of globalization. The Commission has ignored this problem far too long and should come with concrete measures for holding companies accountable for their negative impacts and supporting people to stop harmful projects and investments."