Members' conclusions after the conference held in Vilnius on 25 October
International trade is governed by a complex mixture of global rules agreed under World Trade Organization and bilateral and multilateral agreements. The free trade agreements are having a growing impact on citizens' rights. Under the Lisbon Treaty, EU trade policy must be conducted within the framework of the principles and objectives of the Union’s external action, including promotion of the rule of law, human rights and sustainable development.
We believe that this trend should be a guiding principle in EU trade negotiations and in trade relations. The fact that we at the EESC reconcile the positions and views of business, workers, professionals, farmers, consumers and other important stakeholders contributes real added value. We are in a position to efficiently relay the opinions of civil society and interest groups to international policy-makers both during negotiations and in the implementation of trade agreements. We have set up a Follow-up Committee on International trade to ensure that civil society has a say in the shaping of EU trade policy. We are also managing the Domestic Advisory groups set up under the trade and sustainable development chapters of the EU "new generation" trade agreements. These groups, composed of civil society representatives (from inside and outside the EESC) are responsible for identifying trade and sustainable development-related problems in the implementation of a trade agreement.
The EU enjoys the status of a global trade powerhouse. It is thereby uniquely positioned to shape the development of a rules-based global trading system and influence its external growth.
The publication is a summary of the conference "Does the EU encourage private sector investment" that took place on 11 May 2017 in Valletta, Malta. The conference was jointly organised by the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee and all major Maltese employers' organisations: Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, Malta Employers' Association (MEA), Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) and Malta Chamber of SMEs (GRTU).
This document is the political declaration of the Employers' Group before the European elections. The declaration calls for an open economy – with open markets and fair competition. An open economy must be accompanied by an open society that relies on dialogue and good governance. Europe needs enabling and encouraging policies that stimulate creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. The Group issued the declaration to be vocal about employers' support for the EU.
In 2004 the European Union experienced its biggest enlargement so far, welcoming 10 new Member States. A decade later, members of the Employers' Group representing employers' organisations from these countries summarise the changes that have taken place thanks to accession to the EU.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is the biggest and most ambitious free trade agreement currently being negotiated by the European Union. Economists believe that an agreement with the USA will be advantageous for both the European Union and the USA, and the negative effects of trade liberalisation will be insignificant. This publication is a summary of the debate on "What development opportunities does the TTIP bring to Europe?" that was held in Sopot on 2 October 2014 as part of the European Forum for New Ideas.