december: central america - challenging 'global europe'
Securing and maintaining cheap natural resources and energy supplies, especially in order to continue to manufacture and export products (rather than for domestic consumption) is at the heart of the EU’s approach. This 'external' strategy goes hand in hand with an 'internal' strategy, focusing on business-friendly 'domestic reforms' in Europe, such as the 'Better Regulation' initiative.
In essence, Global Europe is designed to benefit big business: the concerns of poor countries, poor people and the environment, both in Europe and elsewhere, are not a priority. Global Europe threatens to undermine development and negatively affect climate change adaptation, employment rights, gender equality and energy security.
Whilst European business and industry appear to have been extensively involved in consultations about Global Europe, civil society groups and social movements have hardly been involved at all.
FoEI convened a high-profile two-day conference on Global Europe in the European Parliament, in cooperation with three political parties, in December 2008.
Entitled ‘Living Beyond its Resources: Impacts of Global Europe on Sustainable Development’, the conference attracted 170 people from more than 30 countries. Participants came from civil society organizations in both Europe and developing countries, and speakers also included representatives of the European Commission, European Parliamentarians, and the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
The conference was transmitted over the internet via a live video stream.
The conference involved new stakeholders in the Brussels debate, and enabled a lively discussion about Global Europe and alternative political paths to take place amongst civil society representatives from both the North and the South, the European Commission, and Members of the European Parliament. This helped to counter the excessive attention the European Commission pays to the views of European business.
MEPs and European Parliament staff members are now much more aware of the social and environmental impacts that Global Europe could have in developing countries.
FoE Europe strengthened its links and its working relationship with its partners in the European Parliament and other EU institutions, and is increasingly recognized as a credible voice on Global Europe.
Read more about the conference here: www.global-europe.org
with thanks to our funders: the isvara foundation and the dutch ministry of foreign affairs (dgis)