Assessing the Effectiveness of Transnational Public and Private Policy Initiatives
Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Axel Marx, Jan Wouters, Glenn Rayp and Laura Beke
Chapter 3: The EU’s social dimension and its external trade relations
In the past decade the European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of attempts to strengthen and promote the social dimension of globalization through trade, focusing chiefly on the promotion of labour standards internationally through increased cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and through its external trade policies. The injection of a social dimension in the EU’s external trade policy raises many complex questions in relation to competence, coherence, effectiveness and legitimacy of the EU as a global actor. This analysis is particularly prominent and made necessary by fundamental changes introduced by the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon (TL) in relation to the constitutional design of EU External Relations, and in particular the Common Commercial Policy (CCP), as well the conferral of the same legal value of the Treaties to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EUCFR). By injecting a normative approach into its external relations through Articles 3(5) and 21 TEU and, in particular, by including social and environmental goals into its trade policy, the EU is clearly attempting to assert itself as a global human rights actor. The chapter explores the role the EU has committed itself to in relation to the promotion of social rights and international labour standards in its CCP.
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