Trade, Growth and World Affairs – Trade policy as a core component of the EU's 2020 strategy

The European Commission published a new communication at the end of 2010, at a time when international trade was undergoing radical changes which distinguish the current process from the previous phase of globalisation. As an external component of the EU 2020 Strategy, an EU trade policy would aim to ensure that trade would help deliver the sustained growth we currently need to emerge from the crisis whilst guaranteeing the sustainability of the social market economy and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. The proliferation and complexity of bilateral negotiations should not lead the EU to relax its social and environmental demands. The Committee stresses the growing importance of including civil society in implementing and monitoring the EU's trade agreements, particularly as regards the chapters on sustainable development. It proposes to help with the monitoring mechanism by collecting the comments of European civil society, extended to all stakeholders, for the annual report. It also suggests acting as facilitator in joint work with civil society in the partner country to ensure that the practical implications of these agreements are taken into account.