Thursday

23rd Mar 2017

EU vows to shape globalisation

Having finally put six years of institutional wrangling behind it with last week's agreement on a new treaty, the 27-nation EU says it is now confident to face outside challenges.

In December, EU leaders are expected to adopt a declaration, which should underline the bloc's change of priorities – moving from institutional matters towards issues such as globalisation and climate change.

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"We have agreed that we should rule out further institutional change for years ahead", UK prime minister Gordon Brown said on Friday (19 October) – something he said he personally hoped would be the case for at least a decade.

The union now has less than two months to agree a list of new priorities linked to globalisation and subsequently move on to agreeing the best political recipe for how to deal with the phenomenon.

According to the European Commission, the EU should avoid being a passive spectator, but rather "shape" globalisation.

In practice, it is promoting the so-called principle of reciprocity - meaning trading partners should open their markets as much as the EU does.

"We should be open, but not naive. We should not close our doors, rather we should encourage others to open theirs", commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said, suggesting that openness is a two-way street and that third countries should offer comparable levels of openness to EU exporters and investors.

In addition, foreign companies wishing to do business in EU territory should not be allowed to by-pass the rules applied in the union's internal market.

Speaking at the EU summit Friday (19 October), French president Nicolas Sarkozy proved to be the strongest advocate of such a principle.

"Let's not be naive, we must demand a reciprocity", he said, complaining about the severe environmental and social requirements placed upon EU businesses, but not followed by their non-European competitors.

"We have to remind others there are rights as well as obligations", Mr Sarkozy added, singling out Russia and China.

EU paper suggests protecting common market

Just weeks after the European Commission revealed its plans to prevent foreign companies from uncontrolled access to the EU's energy sector, Brussels is set to reiterate that in a global economy "openness is not a one-way street."

Eurozone chief in 'drinks and women' row

[Updated] The Netherlands' Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces calls for resignation after saying that crisis-hit countries in southern Europe spent "money on drinks and women" before being helped by others.

Greek bailout talks to 'intensify'

Greece and its creditors will meet in Brussels later this week to unblock negotiations needed for a new tranche of financial aid, amid concerns over the country's economic situation.

Varoufakis back in push for ECB transparency

The former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and German left-wing MEP Fabio De Masi want to know whether the European Central Bank overstepped its powers when putting capital controls on Greek banks in 2015.

Stolen Russian billions ended up in EU states

Illicit money flowing out of Russia ended up in almost every single EU state, an investigation has found, posing questions on the integrity of Europe’s banking systems.

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