EESC President congratulates Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on being appointed Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

On behalf of the European Economic and Social Committee I want to congratulate Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as Director-General of the World Trade Organization and I wish her a successful mandate. This appointment in itself brings wind of a much awaited change and marks a historic achievement.

Your statement on the WTO needing a "shake-up", 'something different, that cannot be business-as-usual" gives me great hope and expectation. I very much look forward to your tenure as the new WTO's Director-General. I am confident that, under your guidance and leadership, the WTO will pursue effective ways to address the challenges the organisation is currently facing, and reform the institution and its rules, so that trade delivers growth and better livelihoods for us all.

Your predecessor paved the way for greater engagement with civil society, beyond the annual public forums in which the EESC will continue to play an active role. These efforts contribute to greater effectiveness, democracy, transparency and accountability in the multilateral trade system. Going further, our organisation would for instance appreciate an increase in public consultation and civil society stakeholders' engagement in WTO standard-setting activities and policy definition. I look forward to building on our long-established relationship with your organisation to strengthen further the voice of civil society at multilateral level.

The WTO under your helm, will contribute to deliver a progressive, fair and sustainable trade policy, fighting climate change and delivering on the trade-related SDGs. The time has come for the WTO to play its role in actively promoting core labour standards and the Paris Agreement.

I fully join you in your objective to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic recovery as a matter of immediate priority, notably looking at what the WTO can do to make the vaccine easily accessible to all.

I look forward to working with you, not only to develop closer relations between our organisations, but also to concert our efforts in commitment to reinvigorating and enhancing multilateralism.

I wish you much success for the challenging task that lies ahead of you in your demanding office.