Who are the EU Parliamentarians that shape EU’s trade policy?

Key recent developments, such as the blockade of CETA by Wallonia and the triumph of protectionism in American Presidential elections (which is likely to ditch TTIP), highlight the need for those who work on trade to understand how politics affects their side of the business. In order to predict and to prevent blockages, one has to gain a genuine understanding of the actual views of all relevant political factions and the balance of influence between them. Continue Reading

(Opinion) CETA vs. Wallonia and the city of Brussels: the axes are out

By Doru Frantescu

As the tension is getting close to paroxysm this week, the views expressed by opinion leaders have radicalised. The commentators have become highly polarized between those that blame (the Parliaments of) Wallonia and Brussels for “taking the whole EU as a hostage” and those that defend Wallonia and Brussels by telling to those EU affairs expats who have any complaint about (the city of) Brussels to simply “go back to your own country”. Continue Reading

Lessons to be learnt from CETA’s stalemate

Those who believed this spring that CETA was a done deal now have quite a few things on their hands. The complexity of the EU decision-making and the diverging political interests within it have once again taken the bureaucrats in charge of negotiating the deal by surprise.

This occurrence is a case in point of why one needs to make much broader political calculations when trying to get something approved by the EU decision-making machinery. Continue Reading

Who is for and against free trade in the European Parliament

Which members of the European Parliament – MEPs – are the most in favour of free trade and which, to the contrary, are the most opposed to it? Not necessarily those you might think, our latest VoteWatch Europe study shows.

We have used the European Parliament as object of analysis for two reasons. Firstly, this European institution plays an increasing role in influencing EU’s trade policy. Continue Reading

MEPs back FTA negotiations with Australia and New Zealand

In another move that aims to increase the EU’s leverage on the global market, MEPs last week backed the opening of trade talks with Australia and New Zealand with an overwhelming majority. The only opposition came from the (far) left and the extreme right amid concerns over globalisation. Agriculture and transparency remain thorny issues, however.

This FTA adds one more link to the global trade network that the EU is building and which includes similar deals with the US (TTIP), Canada (CETA), Japan, alongside the already completed FTA with South Korea, and the TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement). Continue Reading