The Walloon Minister-President Paul Magnette called on the European Union to “completely rethink its trade policy” so as to “bring order to globalisation”. Mr Magnette spoke of a “debate on principals” so he could explain his opposition to some elements during negotiations on the Free-exchange treaty between Canada and the European Union (CETA). He has tried to “convince the European Commission to start completely changing the direction of its trade policy”.
“The European Union’s trade policy is not good enough for the current situation”, he said. He also spoke of European citizen’s increasing mistrust of free-trade. Mr Magnette spoke to the Montréal International Relation Council (Corim) about how globalisation has changed over the last few decades. He claimed trade must not be “considered an end in itself”, but a “useful tool to help improve the general situation world-wide”, in particular advancing the fight against climate change.
“European institutions are slowly realising that they need to completely rethink our trade policy”, he said. It mainly means admitting that globalisation “also creates losers”, the Socialist adds. However, the changes Brussels institutions are slowly instigating are “too careful” and “if Europe wants to regain the trust of its citizen…. We need to rethink our trade policy in a more radical way”.
Mr Magnette says the European Union has to “learn lessons” from its history to “create a trade policy that will meet the majority of European citizen’s expectations”.
Abandoning private arbitrary processes and going back to national jurisdictions, the increased fight against tax fraud and the systematic inclusion of clauses that protect the environment are among Paul Magnette’s priorities regarding the future free-exchange treaties.