Breakdown of the WTO negotiations: the EU must use this crisis to reaffirm the principles of development
After five years of negotiations aimed at liberalising international trade, members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have failed to reach agreement. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) believes that the breakdown of these talks constitutes a serious crisis to which the EU must react.
The Doha Round should have been the development round, especially for the poorest countries. The breakdown in negotiations reveals a blind stubbornness, in particular on the part of the richest nations and now some emerging countries, which have tried to insist on acquiring competitive advantages in areas that are key to their own interests.
The breakdown of these multinational talks recalls past attempts at bilateral agreements where the dominance of the strongest parties has had, and will have, tragic consequences. In the view of the ETUC, this is a serious crisis, which at the same time highlights a crisis within all the international institutions. The ETUC believes that the EU must use it as an opportunity to reaffirm the principles of development at the European and global levels.
This cannot be the concern of the European Trade Commissioner alone. The search for alternatives, in particular in the form of multilateral regional negotiations, must be the subject of examination and public debate in the European and national institutions, based on the application of the principles set down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the overall political objectives of the EU. These include the development of employment, industrial policies and research, rules on anti-dumping, delocalisation and restructuring, social and environmental standards, countering climate change, and negotiations on intellectual property.
With international tensions growing, the risks for energy supply are intensifying. It is more important than ever for the EU to draw up an internal plan with coherent objectives aimed at global solidarity and designed to achieve sustainable development.
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