This chapter presents the objectives and scope of EU trade policy, including how EU trade policy is made, implemented and enforced. As such, it includes a review of how EU trade policy proposals are prepared, how interested parties are consulted and how decisions are taken. The chapter also includes a description of how free trade negotiations are conducted; starting from the process leading up to negotiating directives to the conclusion of negotiations and subsequent signature and ratification. It further explains the EU approach to dispute settlement and how the European Commission monitors and reports on trade barriers and protectionism. Finally, the chapter explains the purpose and content of the various assessments the Commission carries out in terms of the economic, social and environmental impact of significant new EU trade policy proposals. The chapter concludes with suggestions of areas in which future research on the effects of EU free trade agreements could be further strengthened.
Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt, Anna Michalski, Niklas Nilsson and Lars Oxelheim
The introductory chapter outlines the challenge presented to the European Union (EU) by an increasingly complex security environment, compounded by a diverse set of crises relating to migration, terrorism, war in the EU’s immediate vicinity, and the lingering danger of disintegration in the Eurozone. In order to put the book in context, the chapter explores the current crises and the challenge they pose to solidarity in the EU and, ultimately, to its internal cohesion. It also reviews what the EU can and should do to remain relevant as a crisis manager and sustain its credibility as a peace project. The chapter subsequently outlines nine central aspects of the crises facing the EU and policy recommendations to address them. In conclusion, the chapter argues that the EU needs to strengthen solidarity among its Member States by reforming the European asylum policy and to deepen cooperation between judicial and national security agencies. Most importantly, however, the EU needs to prioritize upholding the four freedoms that underpin it in order to remain legitimate in the eyes of its citizens.