Aligning EU Climate Change and Trade Policy: Achievements and Challenges Ahead
Video recording of the event of 16 September 2021
The Roundtable debate moderated by Harro van Asselt, took place on 16 September 2021. It was a part of the GOVTRAN final event series. The speakers were Madelaine Tuininga, Head of unit, DG Trade, European Commission, Antoine Oger, Head of Global Challenges and SDGs Team at Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), Laurens Ankersmit, Assistant Professor European Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam, and Carolyn Deere-Birkbeck, Senior Researcher, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute Geneva. The 1,5 hour event included a 10 minute presentation by each speaker and was followed by a lively debate. The discussion focused on challenges and opportunities for strengthening climate consideration of trade policy, the various instruments in place or under consideration as well as alternative approaches to reaching more sustainable international trade.
On the event
Following the EU Green Deal, climate change has become a core objective of EU trade policy. As outlined in the recently published Trade Policy Review, this means among others that the Paris Agreement will become an essential element in future trade and investment agreements, and that the EU will promote climate and sustainability actions in the context of the World Trade Organization. Moreover, the EU is increasingly considering the use of trade measures to pursue its climate objectives, as evidenced by the forthcoming proposal for a ‘carbon border adjustment mechanism’. In addition, the EU has taken steps recently to strengthen the enforcement of commitments made in the Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters of its free trade agreements. At the same time, EU trade agreements have been criticised for insufficient regard for climate concerns. The preparation process has also come under fire, with the EU ombudsman recently chiding the Commission for not carrying out a sustainability impact assessment before agreeing the EU-Mercosur agreement.
This roundtable will put the various developments discussed above in perspective, taking a step back to consider how far the EU has come in trying to mainstream climate change considerations in its trade policy, but also discussing the challenges that still lie ahead. Bringing together scholars and practitioners working on EU climate and trade policy, the roundtable seeks to identify possible next steps for the EU to realise its ambitious climate and trade agenda.
- Madelaine Tuininga, Head of unit, DG Trade, European Commission
- Antoine Oger, Head of Global Challenges and SDGs Team at Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)
- Laurens Ankersmit, Assistant Professor European Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam
- Carolyn Deere-Birkbeck, Senior Researcher, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute Geneva
- Moderator: Harro van Asselt, Professor of Climate Law and Policy with the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) Law School