Article 1 - EU trade dynamics and the European model in the context of new globalization patterns and global governance
Keywords:European model, EU trade policy, new generation trade agreements, regulation, EU versus member state competences
This article argues that European Union (EU) trade dynamics and (old and new) globalization challenges cannot be seen in isolation from their implications for the European (economic, social, environmental) model. The EU, a staunch defender of free trade and multilateralism, faces an increasingly messy international trading system and new realities that affect its external trade (environmental and geopolitical considerations, industrial policy). Its quest to promote external trade may however sit uneasily with European values, to which EU trade policy reviews pay tribute by letter, most recently enshrining the objectives of the European Green Deal. This article questions the EU’s unfettered defence of the European model in practice through its new generation trade agreements, which are a chief embodiment of its trade policy. Those increasingly stretch into non-traditional areas, which implies that they feed back into the European model in a way that traditional trade agreements have not, via multiple channels, including regulation (standards, also environmental and labour) or investor protection clauses. The issue whether the EU privileges trade over the European model is reflected in the difficulty to find a necessary consensus among member states to ensure the ratification of recent deep trade agreements.
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