Refining the EU’s Geoeconomic Approach to Trade Policy
The great powers are adapting their policies to a new geoeconomic context. When looking at the EU’s strongest external policy tool, trade policy, one could ask if the EU is doing enough? This policy brief makes recommendations on how to improve the buy-in of Member States for trade-security initiatives, advance cooperation between DG Trade and the EEAS, and avoid escalation in an age of geoeconomics.
Backing up Commitments
The EU does not lack ambition. We all remember Commission President von der Leyen, declaring the arrival of a “geopolitical commission”’ and the Commission’s powerhouse DG Trade announcing the need for “open strategic autonomy”. Indeed, since these ambitions were put forward, the Commission has taken some unprecedented steps in its trade policy. Various initiatives to reinforce the EU’s trade defense arsenal and the swift reaction, with several rounds of sanctions, in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine are clear examples. Yet, when looking at the various trade initiatives the EU has taken since the arrival of the “geopolitical Commission”, many initiatives remain unfinished and risk not backing up the EU’s ambitious commitments.
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