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strengthening the fight against the EU’s Global Europe policy

FoEI has been at the forefront of the battle against ‘Global Europe’, the European Union's aggressive trade liberalizing agenda.

guatemala: focusing in on global europe during americas social forumFoEI was one of the first movements to pick up on this issue, alerting other organizations and the general public, and developing joint campaign plans of action within our Corporates, Trade and IFIs programs. As result, we successfully facilitated the involvement of new stakeholders in the Brussels debate, and enabled a lively discussion about Global Europe and alternative political paths amongst civil society representatives from both the North and the South, together with European Commission officials, and Members of the European Parliament. This helped to counter the excessive attention the European Commission pays to the views of European business.

We began to focus on Global Europe in 2007, when FoE Europe developed a scoping paper for FoEI member groups, which looked into the characteristics of the Global Europe strategy, the actors and interests behind it, and its impacts on people and the environment. Complementing this, in 2008, ATALC published a document mapping the activities of European companies and international financial institutions active in Latin America, and related trade negotiations. This mapping resulted in a country-by-country dossier of information accessible online at www.subsur.net/EuropaGlobal. The EJRN Program is now working on adapting the methodology, so that it can be used by other FoEI member groups in the Asia Pacific and African regions.

In December 2008 we launched a third report named: 'Global Europe: The tyranny of “free trade”, the European way'. This document that analyses the implication of Global Europe's strategy for food sovereignty, especially the potential impacts of services and financial liberalization. It focuses on the association agreements with Central America and the Cariforum regions (the latter being countries belonging to the Caribbean Community - CARICOM, plus the Dominican Republic), and current developments in Africa and Asia in the framework of the Global Europe Strategy. During the elaboration of these studies we have been able to confirm that the association agreements will affect the lives of the majority of the people in the South, as they will reduce countries’ policy space, meaning they are less able to determine the course of their own development.

The ATALC mapping on Global Europe was also useful for building a common FoEI position on the trade negotiations taking place between the EU, Central America and the Andean Region. This enabled FoEI groups and community representatives sponsored by FoEI to have a strong presence at several international events in 2008, including the Peoples' Summit "Enlazando Alternativas 3" in Lima, parallel to the EU-Latin America Heads of State Summit, where FoEI was one the few networks with a bi-regional presence. Here we carried out different activities on strategic themes including food sovereignty, Global Europe, agrofuels and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), together with allies like La Via Campesina, Jubilee South, and the Brazilian Network for the Integration of the Peoples. In the related Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on European Transnational Corporations in Latin America, we presented three cases: Botnia (cellulose and forestation), Proactiva (water) and Unión Fenosa (energy). FoEI’s Real World Radio team broadcast news from Lima in two languages, for both the European and the Latin American public. Coverage can be found on Real World Radio at: www.realworldradio.fm

Together with the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Globalization, FoE Europe hosted the conference ‘Living Beyond its Resources: Impacts of ‘Global Europe’ on Sustainable Development', to bring civil society groups, NGOs and social movements into the current debate around ‘Global Europe’, since they had not been able to access discussions effectively prior to that. This conference helped to raise awareness among MEPs, Commission staff, civil society groups and the general public about the negative impacts of ‘Global Europe’ on human rights and the environment, and to foster discussion on alternative political paths for the EU. The conference gave civil society organizations from the global South a voice in Brussels policy-making.

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