Handbook on the EU and International Trade
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Handbook on the EU and International Trade

Edited by Sangeeta Khorana and María García

The Handbook on the EU and International Trade presents a multidisciplinary overview of the major perspectives, actors and issues in contemporary EU trade relations. Changes in institutional dynamics, Brexit, the politicisation of trade, competing foreign policy agendas, and adaptation to trade patterns of value chains and the digital and knowledge economy are reshaping the European Union's trade policy. The authors tackle how these challenges frame the aims, processes and effectiveness of trade policy making in the context of the EU's trade relations with developed, developing and emerging states in the global economy.
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Chapter 7: EU trade policy and civil society

Matthew Eagleton-Pierce

Abstract

This chapter explores the ties between EU trade policymaking and civil society. Within the politics of commercial exchange, our understanding of the relations between the EU institutions and trade-facing, civil society groups can help to inform larger questions of participation, agenda-setting, and material outcomes. Since the 1990s, the EU has faced reoccurring problems of legitimacy within this policy domain. In terms of input dimensions of legitimacy, many civil society actors have criticised the institutional mechanisms through which their voice on trade policy can be expressed and registered. In respect to output legitimacy concerns, critics have argued that aspects of EU trade policy contribute to uneven and, at times, unjust distributional consequences. This chapter seeks to clarify this complexity in different ways, including through attention to definitional problems, particular policy legacies and forms of access, and more recent struggles over the EU’s engagement with civil society. A spotlight on Oxfam is included.

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