EU Policies and Approaches
- Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Jan Wouters, Axel Marx, Dylan Geraets and Bregt Natens
Chapter 2: Market Power Europe and new EU trade policies
It would be difficult to argue that the European Union (EU) is not a trade power. By comparative economic figures, the EU is a leading actor in today’s global economy and the ‘world’s largest presence in international trade’ (McGuire and Lindeque, 2010, p._1330). The sheer size of the EU as a single market with a common external tariff ensures its centrality in the international trading system. Yet this is not merely a recent development. While the Common Commercial Policy (CCP), dating from the 1957 Treaty of Rome, and subsequent treaty revisions provided the basis for the EU to develop into a trade power, the importance of the EU’s CCP today is amplified further through its operation as ‘a unique tool for forwarding policy priorities that extended beyond pure trade considerations’ (Dimopoulos, 2010, p._153). While the EU must be taken seriously as a trade power, this status and its capacity to use the CCP to forward non-trade policy priorities speak to a broader conceptualization of the EU as a power in the international system. More specifically, the historical and contemporary development of its trade policies helps to inform the conceptualization of the EU as Market Power Europe (MPE) (Damro, 2012). According to this conceptualization, three central characteristics of the EU’s identity – market size, institutional features and interest contestation – may contribute to the drive and capacity to externalize its social and economic agendas.
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