FALLINGBEHIND: THE EUROPEAN UNION TRADE STRATEGIES FROM 1999 TO 2021
As one of the most important global trade actors, in the period that lasted from 1999 to 2021the European Union promoted five different trade strategies. Some of them, such as the strategy of “managed globalisation” (of 1999) and “Global Europe” (of 2006) represented a deviation from the previous trade practice, while others (“Trade, Growth and World Affairs” from 2010, “Trade, Growth and Development” of 2012, and “Trade for All” of 2015), for the most part, included significant improvements compared to previous strategic documents. The latest communication document of the European Commission, “Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy” (of 2021), points to the Union’s adaptation to new circumstances, emphasising the concept of open strategic autonomy and proclaiming a return to multilateralism based on fair and sustainable rules. Although the EU seeks to present itself as a leading initiator of change in the existing static trading system, this paper will attemptto prove that,in its strategic positioning and undertaken activities,the European Union is falling behind its key global competitors, the US and China. The systemic, state-centric and societal reasons for the relatively frequent changes of key trade documents and the essentially defensive action of the European Union in the global trade system will also be analysed.
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