23 March 2018
The regional and local impact of EU trade agreements needs to be better assessed

The regional and local impact of EU trade agreements needs to be better assessed

Plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions

"Globalisation and international trade have boosted Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. At the same time, they had and still have diverse effects on different regions and have increased inequalities. We therefore need to make sure that any EU trade deal is preceded by a proper territorial impact assessment and negotiated in a transparent way, so that concerned regions can better anticipate and manage its impact", emphasized Micaela Fanelli, Mayor of Riccia (PES/Italy).

Her opinion on the Trade package received overwhelming support by CoR members and was only opposed by the ECR Group.  

Responding to the European Commission's package of proposals on foreign trade and investment, the rapporteur makes concrete policy recommendations, including: 

  • underlining the key role of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to support those bearing the negative consequences of opening towards a global market and reiterating the CoR's call to complement it with a preventive arm, increase its budget to at least EUR 500 million per annum, integrate it into the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and ensure synergies with the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF);
  • suggesting to consult with the local and regional authorities where Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is planned or has been completed;
  • stressing the need to clarify in how far private companies can challenge local governments' decisions when it comes to investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS).

The opinion also paves the way for the position to be developed by progressive Members of the European Parliament. "I congratulate Ms. Fanelli on the broad CoR support for her excellent report. She has expressed strong views on some of the key trade issues, particularly on the Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which I will echo in my draft report on 'Harnessing Globalisation' ", stressed the European Parliament's rapporteur, Joachim Schuster (S&D/Germany)​.