Tag Archives: Globalisation

Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia

Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Indonesia (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Indonesia Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .


Indonesia has undertaken a process of political and economic stabilisation supported by the European Union (EU). This cooperation strategy also supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which remain a priority for a country where the majority of the population lives in poverty.

Priorities for cooperation

Education and vocational training are priority areas of action. EU intervention should contribute to improving basic education systems, vocational training and higher education. The partners’ aim is to increase the level of education and adapt teaching to the needs of sustainable development.

The EU supports the programme of trade and investment reforms, to accelerate the economic performance of the country and allow it to join the international trade system. The social and environmental impact of these reforms must be controlled. They are contributing to the development of a free trade zone between the EU and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

In addition, the operation of the judicial and law enforcement system should be strengthened. To this end, cooperation actions support institutional reforms, good public governance, human rights, the fight against corruption and the fight against organised crime. The role of civil society should be particularly encouraged when carrying out reforms.

Beyond these priorities, the partners put in place a series of thematic actions, in particular for democracy and human rights, support for civil society, food security, asylum policy and migration.

General areas of cooperation

Certain areas must be included in a cross-cutting way within the actions that have been planned by the partnership, such as:

  • protection of the environment, particularly to combat illegal logging;
  • conflict prevention and post-conflict recovery for certain regions;
  • gender equality, including in democratic life;
  • governance, transparency and the management of public finances;
  • human rights and the protection of indigenous people;
  • combating HIV/AIDS;
  • controlling the impact of globalisation on social cohesion and promoting decent work.

The European economy: 2004 Review

The European economy: 2004 Review

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The European economy: 2004 Review


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Stability and growth pact and economic policy coordination

The European economy: 2004 Review

Document or Iniciative

The EU Economy 2004 Review – Summary and main conclusions [COM(2004) 723 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The communication reviews economic progress in the European Union in 2004. It influences the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy by analysing first macroeconomic developments in the euro area and then four major topics: convergence, employment, productivity and the environment.

Belated recovery of the economy and its resilience to economic shocks

The Commission notes that economic prospects brightened in 2004 against the background of a favourable international environment. Growth was driven mainly by exports, while domestic demand in the euro area gathered pace. However, the two main components of domestic demand, investment and private consumption, remained too unsteady to speak of a secure recovery.

In spite of the improvement in economic prospects, the rebound of the EU economy is belated and sluggish compared with the other major economies such as the United States. The Commission wonders about the euro area’s economic resilience. Is it more sensitive than other regions to economic shocks? Are its economic structures less favourable to economic resurgence?

Analysis shows that, although adverse economic events have impacted on economic confidence indicators, their effects on industrial production were short-lived and not particularly deep. Rather, structural rigidities have been a more significant factor in the late cyclical adjustment in the euro area. These rigidities impact mainly on investment activity. Thus, the speed of the return to potential output will be determined by how much these rigidities continue to weigh on investment once the cyclical impact of a lack of demand and financial constraints holding back investment growth have worn off.

The slow price adjustments in the euro area stem from wage rigidities and imperfect competition.

Making the Union competitive by 2010

In the communication the Commission focuses on the four areas that hold the key to making the Union competitive by 2010. These are:

Convergence: On 1 May 2004 ten new Member States joined the Union. The Commission examines the conditions that will enhance their capacity to catch up economically and in terms of convergence since they start from income levels significantly below the EU average. Admittedly, the new Member States have already embarked on a major economic convergence process, but this has been entirely driven by investment and productivity. The Commission takes the view that the fairly low employment rates in those countries will have to be increased and domestic savings progressively mobilised in order to complement foreign direct investment. Macroeconomic stability will have to be further entrenched and public deficits reduced. To this end, domestic reforms must continue. The Commission considers that the EU’s Structural Funds can help to foster convergence provided that there is more targeted geographical and thematic concentration.

Employment: For the Commission it is difficult to see how the employment objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, namely the increase in employment rates envisaged by 2010, can be achieved. This is partly because of the economic slowdown but also because progress on structural reforms has been slow and insufficient. The Commission does though note progress in some areas, such as improving female employment. It takes the view that the strategy is clear but reminds Member States that much remains to be done as regards reforms: wage differentiation, labour market regulations, improvement in education and training, etc. These reforms must be country-specific, taking into account the mix of labour market and social protection regulations.

Productivity: The EU economy must not only achieve a higher labour input but also enhance productivity growth. The productivity slowdown is structural, reflecting low productivity growth in mid-tech industries, the relatively small size of the EU’s information and communication technologies (ICT) production industry, etc. In addition, the higher returns which can be earned outside Europe on the back of globalisation and increased international capital mobility may exert pressure on capital productivity within the EU. These developments could be part of the explanation as to why labour productivity growth has declined. The Commission notes that total factor productivity is determined by the competences of workers and the technological level of capital equipment. It would like to see the knowledge-based economy better entrenched in Europe and the gap with the United States closed. The US economy has shifted towards high-productivity growth industries such as the ICT-producing and ICT-using sectors. Thanks to its superior innovation system and the larger amount of resources allocated to research, the United States is in a better position to cope with the globalisation-induced competitive and technological pressures evident since the mid-1980s. Reforms which would allow new and innovative firms to develop and the process of internal integration to be pursued are particularly needed.

Environment: Protection of the environment and economic growth are often seen as competing aims, but the demand for environmental protection has risen along with economic growth. Environmental policy aims to place these resources under a common-property regime by providing for restrictions on activity which is hazardous or damaging to the environment. Public action, market forces and the growth of the service sector have triggered a reduction in the pollution intensity of economic activity in the EU. The Commission notes that the increase in environmental protection has not taken place because pollution has been exported through large-scale relocation. Environmental policies cause an adjustment of economic structures, for example by adapting the property-rights regimes for natural resources to take account of their increased scarcity and new scientific insights. They must also take account of the health risks to which the public is exposed.

The OECD and the examination of EC economic policies

The OECD and the examination of EC economic policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The OECD and the examination of EC economic policies


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Stability and growth pact and economic policy coordination

The OECD and the examination of EC economic policies

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council: Establishment of an OECD EDRC examination of EC economic policies alongside the Euro Area Survey [COM(2005) 150 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In the communication, the Commission replies to the request made to the OECD by Australia, Canada, Korea, the United States, Japan and Mexico to widen the economic examination carried out by the EDRC so as to include Community policies that have an impact on the EU’s economic performance. For the time being, there is no overall annual review for the euro area *, and the OECD’s economic reviews are restricted to individual country examinations. The Commission accepts that a Union review should be carried out, provided that a number of conditions are met.

The EC and the OECD EDRC review

The EDRC is an OECD committee. It prepares country-specific economic reviews that are published every one to two years for each of the 30 OECD members. The reviews are designed:

  • to assess how authorities can improve economic performance;
  • to encourage the participating economies to strengthen their policies with a view to enhancing productivity and to promote growth.

The review leads to formal recommendations which are not legally binding on members.

Since the reviews are country-specific, there is no genuine EDRC review of Community policies from a global viewpoint. The 19 Member States of the European Union which are also OECD members are reviewed individually, with Community-wide policies often being addressed, albeit in a fragmented and repetitive manner. This does not allow official EC representatives to comment properly on such policies in a way that reflects their Community nature. However, since 2001 the EDRC has carried out an annual self-standing review of the euro area because of the particular characteristics of its economy.

This situation is unsatisfactory, both from an internal EC perspective and from the perspective of the other OECD members. Accordingly, the Commission suggests that the EC accept the establishment of a separate and distinct review by the EDRC of Community economic policies alongside the existing euro-area survey.

Establishing an EDRC review of Community economic policies

The Commission proposes that:

  • a separate and distinct EU-25 review of Community structural and sectoral policies be established;
  • the existing euro-area review continue and be confined to macroeconomic policy issues.

The Commission stresses that the two exercises should be kept separate since the euro-area review concerns only twelve Member States (all OECD members), while the EU-25 review concerned all the Member States (which are not all OECD members). The Commission considers that the advantages of an EU-25 review would be the transparency and overall visibility of Community policies.

Community conditions

Establishing an EU-25 review would necessitate appropriate procedural devices which must take account of the uniqueness of the Community, and in particular the division of competencies between the Community and its Member States, the rules on the external representation of the Community and the status of the Community within the OECD. These arrangements will be negotiated within the OECD.

The Commission stresses that acceptance by the Community of an EDRC review is dependent on certain guarantees being given, namely:

  • the six Member States that are not currently OECD members (Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia) will be granted observer status for the EU-25 review;
  • the Community policies will be examined during the EU-25 review and no longer analysed during the separate reviews of Member States;
  • the EU-25 review could alternate with the euro-area review, given the considerable coordination that would be required at various levels of the Union;
  • the Commission will have a clear mandate to negotiate the specifications and arrangements for any EU-25 review with the OECD;
  • the Commission will represent the EC Member States for the purposes of the review;
  • the examination procedure of the review will follow the same model as the euro-area review and will be subject to consensus within the EDRC;
  • the Community be granted a status that allows for equality of treatment with regard to other examinees, which have a right of veto within the EDRC.
Key terms used in the act
  • OECD (Organisation for European Cooperation and Development): The OECD is a forum within which governments collaborate in response to the economic, social and ecological challenges posed by globalisation. In 1961 it replaced the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OECE), which was set up in 1947 under the Marshall Plan.
  • Euro area: At present, twelve Member States make up the euro area, i.e. they have introduced the euro as their official currency. The Member States concerned are: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. Three countries, viz. Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom, have not yet introduced the euro. The Member States that joined the Union on 1 May 2004 are to introduce the euro once they are ready to do so.

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Globalisation Adjustment Fund


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Priorities and objectives: the social agenda

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.


The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) supports the re-integration of European workers affected by redundancies directly associated with major changes in global commercial trade. The support is provided on an individual basis and for a limited period. In the longer term, the measures contained in the fund aim to help redundant workers find and hold on to a new job.

Until 31 December 2011, the fund also provides aid to workers who have lost their jobs due to the global financial and economic crisis.

Intervention criteria

For the EGF to intervene, an application for a grant must be submitted by a Member State.

A financial contribution can be provided where major structural changes in world trade patterns lead to a serious economic disruption in a European Union (EU) country. This could be a substantial increase in imports, a decline in market share in a given sector or a delocalisation of undertakings to third countries. The EGF may also intervene where redundancies are directly and demonstrably the result of the financial and economic crisis.

The economic crisis or disruption must result in:

  • at least 1000 redundancies over a period of 4 months in an enterprise, including redundancies in its suppliers or downstream producers; or
  • at least 1000 redundancies, over a period of 9 months, in a NACE 2 sector in one region or two contiguous regions at NUTS II level;
  • in small labour markets or in exceptional circumstances, the EGF may intervene even if the intervention conditions are not entirely met, when the redundancies have a serious impact on employment and the local economy. The aggregated amount of contributions for exceptional circumstances may not exceed 15 % of the EGF each year.

Financed measures

More specifically, the EGF finances:

  • job-search assistance;
  • tailor-made retraining;
  • entrepreneurship promotion;
  • aid for self-employment;
  • special temporary “income supplements” (job-search allowances, mobility allowances, training allowances, measures to stimulate disadvantaged or older workers to remain in or return to the labour market, etc.).

The EGF does not finance passive social protection measures such as unemployment benefits.


The annual number of workers to benefit from the fund depends on several factors. These factors include the development of the employment market, the number of eligible applications made by the Member States and the budgetary resources available, although the potential annual funding of EUR 500 million has not been fully allocated to date.

Workers will benefit from the EGF assistance via the Member States. The assistance is not handed out to enterprises. In addition, the period of validity of the fund is limited to 24 months from the date on which the application was submitted.

The EGF is a solidarity fund intended to respond to an emergency or crisis situation. It does not finance the restructuring of companies or sectors.


Generally speaking, the effects of opening up economies to international competition are positive. Globalisation boosts competitiveness and opens up new opportunities for growth and employment.

Nonetheless, at the same time, this exposure to world trade may also have adverse effects on the economy. The intensification of trade flows means that local, national and regional socio-economic systems face greater competition, which affects the less competitive sectors where the adjustment costs (retraining of the workforce and conversion of production structures) are high. This can sometimes result in massive job losses.

In addition to the Structural Funds or the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs which already offer a general response in terms of managing and anticipating the challenges of globalisation, this specific fund is essential in order to avert any threat of lasting individual impoverishment.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006


OJ L 406 of 30.12.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 546/2009


OJ L 167 of 29.6.2009

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the activities of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in 2009 [COM(2010) 464 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the activities of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in 2008 [COM(2009) 394 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 2 July 2008 “Solidarity in the face of Change: the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in 2007” Review and Prospects [COM(2008) 421 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission gives a positive report on the implementation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) after its first year. However the effectiveness of the Fund could be improved in the short term, by simplifying its procedures, increasing its visibility and promoting exchange of experience.
The Commission studies the possibility of reinforcing its impact on the creation of jobs and training for Europe’s workers. The EGF could also be used to foster mobility of workers, and to better analyse and anticipate changes in the economy.

Promoting decent work for all

Promoting decent work for all

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Promoting decent work for all


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

Promoting decent work for all

Another Normative about Promoting decent work for all


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Employment and social policy > Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement

Promoting decent work for all

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 24 May 2006 – Promoting decent work for all – the EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world [COM(2006) 249 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Decent working conditions contribute to development, good governance and economic performance. For many emerging and developing countries, globalisation and economic growth do not result in improvements in social conditions or respect for human rights or a reduction in poverty.

This Communication proposes political guidelines to strengthen the EU contribution to the decent work agenda of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It champions a global approach in order to act both on the defence of fundamental social rights and on the conditions of economic and social development. This strategy should be adapted to the situation of each country.

Acting through external policies

Enlargement policy and the pre-accession strategy make it possible to strengthen:

  • trade union freedom, collective bargaining and the capacity of trade unions;
  • labour administration, especially labour inspectorates and social protection;
  • health and safety at work.

Neighbourhood policy is a gradual process which involves in particular:

  • commitments in the area of fundamental social rights;
  • regular political dialogue with the EU;
  • the integration of decent work in the cooperation instruments and cooperation between partner countries and EU agencies.

The EU promotes decent work and social dialogue as part of its regional and bilateral relations. These issues have been integrated into the cooperation agreements with Latin America, the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) and India. They are part of political discussions with Asian countries, especially the Asia-Europe discussions (ASEM).

In the context of development cooperation, the European Consensus on Development identifies decent work as a priority. The European programmes support the following in particular:

  • integrating decent work into development strategies and strategies to combat poverty;
  • the participation of the social partners and civil society;
  • improving the capacity of the authorities and civil society;
  • budgetary support and social adjustment for countries involved in trade liberalisation;
  • development of small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • cooperation of partners and the international and regional organisations concerned.

European external trade policy contributes to sustainable development. The new Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) enables the EU to promote fundamental social rights. Future bilateral or multilateral trade negotiations should take account of:

  • the GSP+ for good governance and sustainable development;
  • the assessment of the impact of opening trade;
  • the mobilisation of European external aid policies and instruments;
  • the interaction between trade, social rights and employment;
  • the promotion of cooperation between the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the ILO.

International governance

International organisations and international financial institutions should take account of existing connections between decent work and economic migration, and of the level of trade, economic growth and investment.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Enterprises have a role which complements legislation, collective bargaining and control of working conditions. The drafting of codes of conduct and CSR instruments should be encouraged. They should be based on standards recognised at international level.

Related Acts

Commission working document – Report on the EU contribution to the promotion of decent work in the world [SEC(2008) 2184 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Since 2006, European institutions have mobilised on the issue of decent work and progress has been made at global level. In particular, the processes of ratification and development of ILO conventions have made progress. A number of challenges lie ahead:

  • recognition of decent work as a priority of international development and poverty reduction objectives;
  • labour market transition to a low carbon economy;
  • applying the ILO conventions and improving labour market governance, despite the importance of the informal economy in most of the emerging or developing countries.

Communication from the Commission to the European Council – Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: launching the new cycle (2008-2010) – Keeping up the pace of change [COM(2007) 803 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Joint declaration by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on the development policy of the European Union entitled “The European Consensus on Development [Official Journal C 46 of 24.2.2006].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – The Social Dimension of Globalisation – The EU’s policy contribution on extending the benefits to all [COM(2004) 383 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Renewed social agenda: Opportunities, access and solidarity in 21st century Europe [COM(2008) 412 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Communication from the Commission on the Social Agenda [COM(2005) 33 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Social development in the context of globalisation

Social development in the context of globalisation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Social development in the context of globalisation


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement

Social development in the context of globalisation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee – Promoting core labour standards and improving social governance in the context of globalisation [COM(2001) 416 final – Not published in the Official Journal]


Citizens are increasingly aware that global market governance has developed more quickly than global social governance, leading to unbalanced economic and social rules and structures.

With an eye to participating in the realisation of an equitable global economic system, the European Union presents a strategy to promote social development and core labour standards at global level.

The interface between globalisation and the promotion of international labour standards is complex. Trade and investments have a definite impact on social development, and more generally on sustainable development. To ensure that this strategy is effective a comprehensive approach is necessary.

In line with the approach of the Council on Trade and Employment of October 1999, the European Commission proposes reaffirming the universality of internationally recognised core labour standards (freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, effective abolition of child labour, elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation). The Commission also recalls its support for the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and its collaboration with other international organisations, notably the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The rejection of approaches based on core labour standards for protectionist purposes or sanctions-based approaches is also reiterated.

The Commission encourages both making use of and strengthening existing tools and adopting instruments and measures designed to encourage the universal application of core labour standards in various fields of action, both at European and international levels.

Strategy at international level

The Union confirms the key role of the ILO in promoting compliance with core labour standards and affirms the need to reinforce the effectiveness of the ILO’s instruments. Hence, the Union encourages in particular giving greater publicity to the supervisory mechanism, more effective monitoring, and more technical assistance. It also seems necessary to discuss new mechanisms to encourage compliance with core labour standards and a new mechanism for the regular review of social policy at the country level.

The Union also proposes launching discussion and reflection at international level in the international organisations devoted to development (ILO, WTO, etc.). Such a dialogue would help identify policies which effectively reinforce the contribution of trade to social development and ensure a certain consistency of the policies.

Strategy at European level

The Union proposes promoting core labour standards via the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). The GSP facilitates access to Community markets for developing countries which effectively apply the core labour standards and grants them additional trade preferences. The Union thus wishes to make the GSP more attractive and more transparent. Its base should be extended to the four core labour standards identified in the ILO Declaration of 1998, hence leading to a temporary withdrawal of GSP benefits in the event of serious and systematic violation of one of the core labour standards. The Union wishes to encourage other countries to adopt similar social encouragement systems.

The Union will place more emphasis on the promotion of core labour standards in its overall development policy. In line with the approach applied in the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, specific rules devoted to social development and the promotion of core labour standards will therefore be included in future trade and cooperation agreements.

Sustainability impact assessments will also be used in the framework of future negotiations and trade agreements.

Voluntary private initiatives

The Commission reaffirms the importance of socially responsible corporate behaviour within global labour markets. As the Union already stressed in its Green Paper on Corporate Social Responsibility, it is necessary, with an eye to transparency and effectiveness, to ensure coherence in the content of codes of conduct and social labels and to base them on common core standards, in other words the ILO standards. Thus, in 2000 the United Nations launched the “Global Compact” initiative, encouraging private companies to embrace and enact in their corporate practices the basic principles of Decent Work.


The 1995 Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development and the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work led to widespread recognition of the universality of core labour standards. The WTO has also been involved in promoting these standards, by analysing the interface between globalisation, trade and social development. However, it has been made quite clear that respect for these standards cannot justify abuses in the form of protectionist or sanctions-based measures. However, the efforts of the international community must be continued.

Related Acts

Report from the ILO World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation “A fair globalisation — creating opportunities for all” of 24 February 2004

The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation states that globalisation can and must change. It considers it necessary to create fair globalisation without exclusion. A coherent approach covering the economic, social and environmental dimension and more effective governance, both at international and national level, can contribute to addressing globalisation challenges.

The European Commission, which has actively participated in the work of the World Commission, has incorporated this dimension in the European Union’s external and internal policies.

Conclusions of the Council on the Communication from the Commission: “Promoting core labour standards”. External Relations Council – 21 July 2003 [Not published in the Official Journal]

The Council supports the Commission’s action to promote social development at international level. It states certain priorities in this connection:

  • promote effective dialogue between the WHO and the ILO in order to ensure consistency on this question within the international organisations concerned;
  • reliance on GSP to promote core labour standards;
  • integration of core labour standards and social governance in the European Union’s development policy;
  • promotion of effective and time-bound programmes, to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.

Extending the benefits of the social dimension of globalisation to all

Extending the benefits of the social dimension of globalisation to all

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Extending the benefits of the social dimension of globalisation to all


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement

Extending the benefits of the social dimension of globalisation to all

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 18 May 2004 entitled “The social dimension of globalisation – the EU’s policy contribution on extending the benefits to all” [COM(2004) 383 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Via this communication the European Commission wishes to contribute to the debate for fair and sustainable globalisation.


Globalisation translates into a progressive integration of economies and societies. It is driven by new technologies, new economic relationships and the national and international policies of a wide range of actors, including governments, international organisations, business, media, labour and civil society. The process of globalisation has brought significant benefits to many people across the world. Higher quality, and higher earning jobs have been created in parts of the world which previously relied largely on agriculture to maintain their people.

However, the benefits of globalisation are not shared equally across all countries and groups. The results of economic integration at global level are unbalanced and often unfavourable to vulnerable actors, whether they are regions, sectors or workers. In order to be genuinely sustainable, globalisation must ensure fairer social development for all.


The European Union has long been striving, both within the European Union (EU) and at international level, to ensure that the economic benefits of globalisation go hand in hand with social progress.

Achievements within the EU

Thanks to its own regional integration experience, the European Union represents a pertinent model of economic, political and social integration. Although this model and the Lisbon strategy, which translates it into practice and was designed in 2000 by the Heads of State and Government, cannot simply be transferred to other parts of the world, some of its features are relevant to them.

The European Union has created a single market for the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons, reinforced by Economic and Monetary Union. It pursues mutually reinforcing policies to meet the needs of competitiveness, employment, social progress and sustainable environment. The system established by the Union is such that this economic integration leads to an improvement of the living and working conditions of European citizens, notably in the less developed Member States. In this connection the European Union has focused on solid institutional structures, the interplay between them, involvement of the stakeholders through the European social dialogue, fundamental standards for employment, such as non-discrimination in employment and equality between men and women, minimum standards as regards occupational health and safety and working conditions, supportive national social protection systems, an investment in human capital, the quality of employment and, in a more general manner, respect of human rights and the rule of law.

The transformation of the economies of the eight Central and Eastern European Countries, which joined the Union on 1 May 2004, shows the relevance of the European economic and social model for countries in the process of economic transition.

Achievements at international level

The European Union has long been aware that it is essential that its efforts for fair globalisation also translate into its external policies.

The European Union has utilised its various Economic Partnership Agreements to introduce the essential elements of sustainable globalisation. Hence it has focused its external policies on the links between trade and development, development cooperation focusing on poverty reduction, basic employment standards, corporate social responsibility, the environment, sustainable development, but also the rule of law, human rights and democratisation.

The Union mainstreams these elements in the bilateral agreements it concludes with virtually all countries and many regional groupings. Besides, via the Generalised System of Preferences, the European Union offers preferential access to the European market to developing countries which effectively respect the basic labour standards.

Besides, it supports various regional integration processes. These processes permit better integration in the world economy and thus help maximise the benefits of globalisation for their members.

Besides, thanks to its “European Neighbourhood Policy”, the Union is creating a zone of stability and prosperity with the Eastern and Southern neighbouring countries.

The Union does not neglect the private sector, which has a supplementary role to play in promoting fair globalisation.


While the European Union is actively involved via its policies in reinforcing the social dimension of globalisation, its efforts must be enhanced both at European and international level. The Structural Funds should help implement economic and social restructuring. All stakeholders are required to anticipate, trigger and absorb change. To better assess the social consequences of globalisation and better target its external aid interventions, the European Community intends to promote the mainstreaming of this social dimension, in particular in the above-mentioned areas and at the programming and implementation stages of its programmes and projects.

The actions of the European Union for developing countries should not however conceal the importance of the latter’s responsibility in managing globalisation and their own social development.

Besides, the contribution of international institutions to sustainable development, also with a view to promoting decent work, is essential. The World Trade Organisation (WTO), the international financial institutions (IFIs), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and all the United Nations’ institutions must work consistently and in a co-ordinated manner towards this goal.

Generally, the Commission strives to replace intentions by concrete actions.


The ILO’s World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation (WCSDG) published a report on “Fair globalisation: creating opportunities for all” on 24 February 2004. The European Commission wishes to participate in the debate opened by the WCSDG and in the implementation of its proposals and recommendations by presenting its contribution to the social dimension of globalisation.

A single market for 21st century Europe

A single market for 21st century Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A single market for 21st century Europe


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Research and innovation > Research in support of other policies

A single market for 21st century Europe

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 November 2007 entitled: “A single market for 21st century Europe” [COM(2007) 724 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The single market is beneficial for consumers and businesses. It has supported job creation and stimulated growth, competitiveness and innovation. The single market has also been essential for the smooth functioning of the economic and monetary policies of the European Union (EU). However, it still has untapped potential.


The Commission proposes a single market for the 21st century which is strong, innovative and competitive. Building on its existing strong foundations, the single market must concentrate on key areas with potential added value in order to face up to new challenges.

Consumers and businesses

The single market needs to deliver better results and benefits to respond to the expectations and concerns of consumers and businesses. The guarantee of high standards has enabled consumer protection to be ensured in terms of choice and quality of goods, prices, rights, fighting unfair commercial practices and abuse of dominant positions, etc. Nevertheless, the single market can offer more in key sectors of the daily life of consumers, such as energy or telecommunications, and sectors which are fragmented or typified by a lack of effective competition.

The safety and quality of goods and services and market surveillance also need to be strengthened. Food safety, pharmaceuticals and retail financial services are areas in which consumers must be educated and empowered in order to derive full benefit from the single market. In this respect, consumer rights, and especially contractual rights, and redress should be re-examined to move towards a simple, comprehensive protective framework.

In addition, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are not integrated in the single market in the same way as large enterprises. Their participation is impeded mainly by tax fragmentation and language, cultural and consumer barriers. The initiative of the Small Business Act, based on the principle of “think small first”, and improvement of the tax environment should provide an appropriate response to this problem.

Coping with globalisation

In a constantly changing international context, the single market presents many advantages in terms of innovation, competitiveness and choice, whilst respecting labour, health, safety and environmental standards. Through its nature, it has attracted foreign investments and firms.

The EU must continue this process to cope with globalisation, concentrating on the pillars identified in the Communication “Global Europe competing in the world (BG) (CS) (ET) (GA) (LV) (LT) (HU) (MT) (PL) (RO) (SK) (SL)”, i.e.:

  • the trade and competition policy instruments which guarantee a competitive space by responding to foreign subsidies and other unfair practices;
  • promotion of cooperation on multilateral and bilateral norms. The EU must take inspiration from international standards and its own standards must serve as a world reference, ensuring it a leading role, especially if it speaks with one voice;
  • ensuring that the benefits of market openness reach European citizens, especially in terms of choice and price, but also by following up on trade agreements.

Making knowledge and innovation the “fifth freedom”

The single market, which was originally based on primary products and manufactured goods, has to provide for the greater integration of services, which are assuming a growing role in a knowledge-based economy. In this way, it must tap the potential offered by the new technologies for the benefit of a “fifth freedom”, i.e. free movement of knowledge and innovation.

The Services Directive is the lynchpin of this process. Nevertheless, the removal of barriers and strengthening of competition must be continued to offer more choice at lower prices to consumers and to boost innovation. Initiatives have been taken along these lines, especially with regard to the network industries (energy, postal services, transport, telecommunications, etc.). Information and communication technologies (ICT) are also an asset for the development of interoperable services in the context of the “e-Internal Market” (electronic invoicing, online public procurement and electronic customs), without creating new “e-barriers”.

The mobility of workers, researchers and students must be guaranteed to promote knowledge-sharing. The 7th Framework Research and Development Programme (7th FRDP) and the plan to introduce a “researcher passport” form the foundations of mobility and the development of research networks within the European Research Area (ERA).

Social and environmental dimension

Market opening has social and environmental impacts. The Commission will improve its impact assessments to anticipate market changes more effectively.

The development of the single market goes hand in hand with the European social agenda. Economic and social cohesion, based on the Structural Funds, allows citizens and businesses to be empowered and the benefits of the market to be spread to all regions of the EU. In this respect, the “European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation” (EGTC) offers new possibilities for cross-border cooperation in areas such as health, environment and infrastructures.

Workers’ mobility receives further support under the Job Mobility Action Plan. However, this must respect the fundamental rights of workers, including equal opportunities. The European Works Council will be adapted along these lines.

The development of “eco-industry” (pharmaceuticals or car manufacturing) contributes to the environmental dimension of the single market. Further investments are still needed, especially to contribute to fighting climate change.


An enlarged, diversified EU depends more than ever on the single market working well. The EU must concentrate on the evidence and the impact of the markets, giving priority to where markets do not deliver and where there are maximum chances of improvement. Market monitoring will be stepped up to determine the reasons for market failures and their potential on the basis of competition sector inquiries, lead markets and joint technology initiatives. The consumer scoreboard, which will be integrated into the Single Market Scoreboard from 2009, will provide additional information on the performances of these markets from the point of view of consumers and economic and social requirements.

Simple, appropriate tools will allow the single market to be more targeted and better enforced, without ending up with more regulations. Recourse to existing instruments and procedures under the various policies must be rationalised to achieve an optimum result. This also applies to the tools for the evaluation and implementation of Community legislation. The Commission will reconsider ineffective or superseded Community interventions.

All levels of governance, authorities and stakeholders must be involved on the basis of greater decentralisation, fostering ownership and mutual trust in the context of new working relationships and approaches. The networks, which could be based on “single market centres”, are essential in this respect to ensure enforcement of Community legislation and cooperation, promoting exchanges of experience and good practices.

Communication and access to information form the basis for transparency and knowledge of the Community rules. Member States are responsible for this. Achievement of these objectives will be based on the “single market ambassadors” pilot project (prominent persons in business and trade), a “one-stop shop” for the various services available to citizens and businesses (Europe Direct, Your Europe, SOLVIT, Citizens’ Signpost Service, EURES, the new integrated business support network, etc.), as well as a Single Market Scoreboard adapted to allow better evaluation of performance.

European values in a globalised world

European values in a globalised world

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European values in a globalised world


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Priorities and objectives: the social agenda

European values in a globalised world

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, of 20 October 2005, “European values in the globalised world – Contribution of the Commission to the October Meeting of Heads of State and Government” [COM(2005) 525 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Europe has historically had a high level of prosperity, social cohesion, environmental protection and quality of life based on the common values of solidarity and justice. Today, however, exclusion is a reality in Europe: the unemployment rate remains high (19 million unemployed in the EU), growth is slowing, and child poverty and inequality are on the increase.

Consequently, if Europe does not succeed in meeting the new challenges posed by new technologies, mobility, an ageing population and global competition, there is a risk that a socioeconomic duality that is both inclusive and exclusive will emerge on a long-term basis. This would also increase the gap between Europe and the rest of the world.

Hence the need to modernise and reform our social systems, a need symbolised by the process of reform begun in Lisbon in March 2000.

“Unity in diversity”: the reality of European social models

The EU’s Member States have developed their own socioeconomic models, reflecting their history and their collective choices. Each of these national models is underpinned by European characteristics:

  • common elements such as public pensions, health and long-term care, social protection, labour market regulation and redistribution through tax policies;
  • shared values such as solidarity and cohesion, equal opportunities and the fight against all forms of discrimination, health and safety in the workplace, universal access to education and healthcare, quality of life and quality in work, sustainable development and the involvement of civil society;
  • role of the public sector in the organisation and financing of national systems, much more so than in America or Asia;
  • a strong “European dimension” reinforcing national systems;
  • a tradition of social dialogue and partnership between governments, industry and trade unions.

However, besides these points which Member States have in common, the Commission underlines the significance of disparities within the EU. For example, Lithuania, Latvia and Ireland spend 14 to 15% of GDP on social protection systems, while France and Sweden spend 30%. In addition, the level of public pensions may be twice as high in one country as in another, varying from between 31 and 37% of average earnings in Ireland, the UK and Belgium to over 70% in Austria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain. It seems, therefore, that no Member State has yet found all the answers, despite the relative convergence in their approaches.

Findings and challenges: completing the transformation

The social reality in Europe today includes the challenges of unemployment, globalisation and population ageing.

The number one social problem is without doubt the persistent unemployment in the EU: 19 million people including mainly young people, women, migrants and older workers (aged 55 to 64).

In addition, weaknesses in education, research, innovation and productivity are holding back labour markets and economic performance in some Member States. The barriers to entry and exit on the job market are too high. Finally, the gap between the rich and the poor in the EU, both within Member States and between them, is considerable and is still widening.

Today, globalisation is no longer a choice but a reality. The emergence of new economic giants such as China and India puts the European economy to the test more than ever, in terms of trade, investment, technology, energy and production costs. Although knowledge and technology are important in Europe, the lack of qualified staff undermines the productivity of European companies.

The ageing of the European population is a reality in the Europe of the future. Based on current trends, the EU population will be both smaller and older due to low birth rates. According to statistics, by 2050 there will be 48 million fewer 15-64 year olds and 58 million more people over 65. The repercussions for Europe are considerable.

The reduction in the workforce will slow down growth (from 2 to 2.5% today it could fall to just 1.25% by 2040). Slower growth will come at a time when the costs of an ageing population start to peak (an increase varying between 4 and 8% of GDP across Member States). The sustainability of public finances is therefore at risk. Life expectancy will continue to increase, however, and in 45 years it will have risen to 81 for men and 86 for women.

Finally, while migration to the Union does not on its own provide a long-term solution, the Member States and the EU institutions have already adopted other measures. At national level, several countries have undertaken significant reforms of pension systems and of early retirement arrangements. At EU level, macroeconomic policies offer Member States a path towards stability and sound public finances. The reforms agreed within the Lisbon Agenda should also provide solutions.

While many reforms have already been undertaken in some Member States, Europe can no longer afford to wait. It is extremely well placed to help this transformation, with its economic and monetary stability, its scale (the largest trading block in the world), its financial resources (EU funding and programmes) and its external instruments (enlargement and development policies).

Responding to the challenges

While the Member States are more involved in social policy, the EU has an important part to play in the process of modernisation. The Europe of 25 Member States, with shared values and strong institutions acting together, may in fact be better equipped to deal with globalisation. Moreover, the European Union has a unique set of instruments at its disposal: in addition to its legislative, executive and judicial powers, it acts as a catalyst for new ideas and reform.

The Commission therefore recommends action based on:

  • greater coherence and coordination both between the different decision makers and between economic and social policies;
  • economic, labour market and social modernisation;
  • strengthening social justice by means of economic and labour market reforms;
  • greater coordination between the different levels of power (European, national, sub-national).

Various initiatives should be taken at European level:

  • completion of the internal market, including for services, telecoms, energy, and financial services;
  • delivery of more open and fairer markets;
  • promotion of enterprise;
  • improvement of the regulatory environment at EU level;
  • opening of third-country markets for European producers;
  • adoption of an agreement on the Financial Perspectives by the end of the year and on the principle of a new Globalisation Adjustment Fund;
  • ensuring the proper functioning of EMU as a key precondition to creating growth and jobs;
  • improving European economic governance and strengthening the coordination of economic and social policies.

Four objectives were set at national level:

  • to implement the agreed structural reforms and policies within the renewed Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs;
  • to raise employment rates and reduce unemployment;
  • to adapt pension, health and long-term care to meet changing needs;
  • to offer innovative solutions for the low paid.

Finally, the EU in partnership with the Member States must:

  • create an environment that champions innovation;
  • spell out a long-term and coherent energy policy;
  • direct more resources (both public and private) to education, training and skills;
  • promote a renewal of the social dialogue;
  • support efforts to deal with the social consequences of economic restructuring;
  • increase cooperation between Member States.

The Commission’s message is therefore clear. In order to preserve our values, we must modernise and we must do it together.


This Communication is part of the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy, one of the main objectives of which is the reform of social systems. In this field, one of its aims is to create more and better jobs through work incentives, the modernisation of social protection systems, increasing the adaptability of workers and enterprises and improving education and training.


Global Europe: Competing in the world

Global Europe: Competing in the world

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Global Europe: Competing in the world


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enterprise > International dimension and enlargement

Global Europe: Competing in the world

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 October 2006 “Global Europe: Competing in the world” [COM(2006) 567 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


As part of the external aspect of the Lisbon Strategy promoting growth and jobs, the Commission proposes an ambitious programme for the competitiveness of the European Union (EU) and its businesses that places the emphasis on open markets. Fundamental to the programme are the rejection of protectionism in Europe, the opening up of the principal markets outside Europe and the bringing together of the EU’s internal and external policies.

In this context, the Commission presents an analysis of the foundations of the EU’s common commercial policy and competitiveness. Furthermore, the Commission outlines the measures necessary to respond to both these priorities and the challenges of globalisation.

The global economy is characterised by an increasing integration facilitated, notably, by new information and communication technologies and the reduction in the costs of transport. This increasing integration leads to a strong interdependence between economies and industries at global level, bringing about as many opportunities as it does risks for both citizens and the planet.


Faced with these challenges, the EU must reinforce its competitiveness through the use of transparent and effective rules.

Firstly, European competitiveness is based on sound internal policies, namely:

  • competitive markets which encourage the competitiveness of European businesses. The Single Market benefits from high-quality, transparent rules that make it possible to benefit from economies of scale and use resources efficiently. Furthermore, competition encourages businesses to provide high-quality products. Despite the strong performance of European businesses compared with their global competitors in the sectors of manufacturing and services, high-technology sectors could still improve in terms of innovation, education, research and development;
  • economic openness: unlike protectionism, opening up to international trade and investment generates competitive pressures which benefit innovation, new technologies and investment, thereby facilitating the use of Single Market resources. In this context, trade defence instruments adapted to global trade remain indispensable to combat unfair commercial practices;
  • social justice: the EU must be in a position to cope with the impact caused by an opening up of the markets, notably an acceleration in structural changes brought about by globalisation. This acceleration can have a negative impact on certain sectors, regions or workers. Therefore, not only must the effects of an opening up be predictable, but the values, particularly those concerning social and environmental issues, must also be promoted throughout the world.

Secondly, European competitiveness is based on the opening up of foreign markets based on fair rules. The EU should in particular show a commitment to opening up markets in emerging countries, which account for a growing share of global trade. The opening up of the markets in China, India and Brazil has shown the benefits that this can bring in terms of development and the fight against poverty.

Nevertheless, to draw the maximum benefit from an opening up of markets, new trade obstacles must be tackled head-on, going beyond customs duties. Against this background, the common commercial policy should place the emphasis on:

  • non-tariff barriers: beyond customs tariffs, non-tariff barriers (trade-restricting regulations and procedures) are often less visible, more complex and more sensitive because they have a direct impact on domestic regulation. To promote trade that abides by transparent and non-discriminatory rules, the Commission, Member States and industry must define new ways of working in addition to the traditional methods at their disposal (mutual recognition, dialogues on standardisation and regulation, technical assistance to third countries).
  • access to resources: European industry should have access to key resources such as energy, raw materials, metals and scrap. This access should not be restricted other than for environmental or security reasons. Accordingly, and in view of the essential nature of energy access for the EU, a coherent policy is needed to guarantee a diversified, competitive, secure and sustainable energy supply both within the Union (competitive market, promotion of a sustainable, efficient and diverse energy mix) as well as outside its borders (non-discriminatory access to export infrastructures for third and transit countries, assistance to third countries to strengthen their capacities and infrastructures). In this context, the link between trade and the environment should be strengthened because of the impact which trade can have on the environment, in particular on biodiversity and the climate. Energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and the rational use of energy should be encouraged.
  • new growth sectors: intellectual property rights (IPRs), services, investment, internal markets and competition. These sectors offer major opportunities for the European economy, provided that a gradual liberalisation of global trade and transparent, effective and respected rules (both national and international) facilitate exchanges between the EU and its trading partners. Bilateral and international cooperation should therefore be strengthened.


The Commission proposes an action programme aimed at strengthening the EU’s external competitiveness and meeting global challenges. To achieve this, the action plan identifies the necessary priorities and methods, comprising an internal and an external dimension.

Internal dimension

European businesses must benefit from the EU’s competitiveness and its citizens should feel the advantages. The Lisbon Strategy constitutes the foundation of the EU’s competitiveness. In this context, the communication from the Commission entitled “A Citizens’ Agenda” [COM(2006) 211 final] of May 2006 offers an in-depth examination of the Single Market to guarantee businesses’ competitiveness through diversification, specialisation and innovation.

The process of framing EU policies should focus on the Union’s capacity to respond to global challenges. Coherent regulation at European or international level is therefore essential, and international and bilateral cooperation is of equal importance. The EU encourages good practices to be imparted, but also an open and flexible approach towards drafting these rules.

Concerning the repercussions of an opening up of the markets, the Commission and the Member States will ensure that the European citizens reap the benefits, notably through the introduction of a systematic monitoring of both import and consumer prices.

Furthermore, adaptation to change is a key factor for growth and employment. Cohesion programmes and the Globalisation Adjustment Fund will make it possible to predict and respond to these changes. The European customs system will also be modernised (revision of customs code, introduction of e-customs).

External dimension

Concerning external action, the EU maintains its commitment to multilateralism, which offers the means to eliminate trade barriers in a stable and sustainable manner. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the framework of choice to achieve these goals and the EU supports resuming the Doha round of trade negotiations.

As well as multilateralism, the EU must also endeavour to promote a faster and more comprehensive trade liberalisation within the framework of its bilateral relations. The Free Trade Agreements
(FTAs) will be a driving force towards achieving this goal. These have the advantage of being able to cover domains not provided for either by an international regulation or the WTO. As well as serving the EU’s neighbourhood and development policies, the FTAs should also bring increased benefits to the European Union’s commercial interests. Nevertheless, the Commission notes that the FTAs should have a wider scope of content than the existing ones in the context of neighbourhood policy, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) currently being negotiated with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, or the Association Agreements with Latin America and the Andean Community.

The EU must define economic criteria to negotiate and conclude FTAs and to identify its partners, such as the market potential measured in terms of size and economic growth, the level of protection vis-à-vis exports from the EU (customs tariffs, non-tariff barriers), etc. Other factors will also come into play, such as negotiations between the EU’s potential partners and its competitors, the impact of these negotiations on the EU and the risk that they pose to the partners’ preferential access to the Union’s markets. Based on this, the partners to be privileged are the ASEAN countries, South Korea and India which fulfil the criteria mentioned, as well as Mercosur, Russia, the Gulf Cooperation Council and China.

As regards content, these agreements must be more comprehensive, more ambitious and broader to encompass a wide range of areas covering services and investment as well as IPRs. The FTAs must provide for a regulatory convergence to effectively combat non-tariff barriers, stronger and stricter provisions (IPRs, competition), simple and modern rules of origin adapted to suit circumstances, and monitoring mechanisms to evaluate implementation and results. The FTAs will be adapted to the specific considerations of development (including impact studies) and sustainable development. They will also respond to the needs of each country in accordance with the EU’s strategies towards these countries and the regions to which they belong.

Transatlantic trade is at the heart of the EU’s bilateral relations, in particular with the aim of meeting global challenges. The EU will continue to encourage the elimination of non-tariff barriers, given the economic advantages of a comprehensive liberalisation of trade between the partners. To this end, negotiations under the transatlantic economic initiative are continuing.

China is both an essential partner and a challenge for the EU, offering growth and employment opportunities. China itself is faced with challenges while accounting for an increasing share of global trade. Therefore, as part of its strategy for China, the EU proposes focusing on these challenges, establishing priorities and pursuing closer cooperation in these areas.

The EU and its partners must agree to do more concerning respect for intellectual property rights
(IPRs). This action will take the form of special provisions in bilateral agreements, a strengthening of customs cooperation, dialogues, an increase in presence and resources in the field and awareness-raising among European businesses. The principal countries concerned will be China, Russia, the ASEAN countries, Korea, Mercosur, Chile, Ukraine and Turkey in connection with its accession negotiations.

The Market Access Strategy established in 1996 was renewed in 2007. The Commission proposes strengthening its work by refocusing action on certain countries and sectors as well as on the opening up of their markets to third countries. This effort must be made in cooperation with industry and the Member States.

The internal markets of third countries must be opened up to European suppliers. The Commission will launch an initiative aimed at reducing restrictive practices which are discriminatory. If necessary, targeted restrictions will be maintained for uncooperative countries with the aim of encouraging them towards a mutual opening up of markets.

Trade defence instruments will be a part of multilateralism. The EU will therefore ensure that its partners’ instruments are justified, transparent and in compliance with international rules. Failing this, the EU could fall back on dispute settlement mechanisms such as that of the WTO. Furthermore, the EU will concentrate on improving its own instruments, which must respond to demands in terms of efficiency and adaptation to global changes in order to ensure that the diversity of European interests is taken into account.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the external dimension of the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs – Reporting on market access and setting the framework for more effective international regulatory cooperation [

COM(2008) 874

final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication is the first annual report concerning open markets in the European Union (EU) and access by European companies to global markets.

The Commission supports the strengthening of international cooperation and bilateral relations, to improve regulatory convergence, in particular in the financial sector. High standards must be adopted in terms of product safety, and protection of consumers and the environment. Particular efforts are being made with Enlargement countries, Neighbourhood Policy partners, the United States, China and Russia.

The report notes a reduction in import tariffs and duties. However, the general trend to increase non-tariff barriers is a hindrance to trade. The EU intends to use all instruments available to facilitate trade. It supports the conclusion of multilateral trade agreements in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to achieve open and fair markets. Similarly for the conclusion of bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The removal of trade barriers can be facilitated through notification procedures and dispute settlement as laid down in the WTO agreements.

The EU Member States are pursuing coordinated action through the participation of all those involved, including at local level. As part of the Doha round of negotiations, European strategy aims in priority at improving access for companies in sectors with high potential for growth, guaranteeing compliance with intellectual property rights and developing internationalisation of small and medium enterprises through specific assistance measures.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 18 April 2007 “Global Europe: A stronger partnership to deliver market access for European exporters” [COM(2007) 183 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 6 December 2006 “Global Europe: Europe’s trade defence instruments in a changing global economy – A Green Paper for public consultation” [COM(2006) 763 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The results of the consultation were published on 19 November 2007 (pdf ).