EU Policies and Approaches
Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Jan Wouters, Axel Marx, Dylan Geraets and Bregt Natens
Chapter 1: Global governance through trade: an introduction
It has become a commonplace to say that the multilateral institutions which have been set up since the end of the Second World War are currently facing a severe crisis. After the end of the Cold War, everything had looked so promising: an era of international cooperation dawned, in which the United Nations (UN) received a new boost; a great number of multilateral treaties were concluded (from the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol) and important new international institutions saw the light of day (from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the International Criminal Court). In Europe, the European integration process yielded new highlights, with the Maastricht Treaty’s creation of a European Union (EU or Union), which deepened the internal integration through the gradual implementation of an Economic and Monetary Union, and made the EU a more cohesive international actor, pursuing a set of norms and values on a global scale (Wouters et al., 2012). However, the optimism of the 1990s seems to have ceded to the pessimism of the new millennium.