Confronted by internal challenges, an ambitious trade policy is compromised

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Series Details No.407, October 2016
Publication Date 17/10/2016
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The Bratislava Summit of 16 September 2016 brought together the heads of State and government of all ember states, UK excepted, in a bid to provide new impetus to Europe.

Regarding the external chapter on economic measures the 27 have simply asked for the assessment of the means available "to introduce a robust trade policy which capitalises on the open markets whilst taking on board concerns expressed by the citizens." This might sound surprising on the part of the world's leading trade power because of its lack of ambition. But opinion and certain governments are divided, and even disconcerted by the agreements that are under discussion at present with Canada and the USA.

Behind a feeling of impotence in the face of the dangers of globalisation, misconceptions of the institutional machine and split accountability accentuate the feeling that agreements that are being negotiated "behind the scenes", and even against the citizens, whilst the States are prescribers and decision makers of last resort. The interest of a common trade policy is facing internal challenges which are undermining the collective capacity for negotiation.

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