Following the European Commission’s publication of its reflection paper on globalisation, the President of the European People’s Party, Joseph Daul, expressed his support for the initiative. He stressed the importance of rules-based free trade and the need to prepare our societies for digital challenges:
“Globalisation is not our enemy; it is an opportunity. It is a means for promoting our values in the world. It means jobs: over 31 million jobs throughout the EU depend on EU exports to the outside world. It means business for our companies. It is a chance for the European Union to be a global leader and to ensure that Europe’s high quality becomes the global standard. It is an opportunity to prepare our work force for the future and to embrace digitalisation. By adapting to a changing world, we make sure that no one is left behind, and we protect those who have lost, or who are in danger of losing, their livelihoods due to technological or trade-related change.
Our economy and our way of life depend on trade, and we must ensure it works to our benefit. Trade is about exchange and openness. It is not just about goods and services; trade also underpins peace and cooperation and generates ideas and innovation. For Europeans, this leads to new jobs, more affordable products and better technologies. Trade also offers a way to preserve European values and promote Europe’s role in the world. Europe, especially if EU Member States stand together, can be the global champion of free, fair, rules-based trade.
Free trade agreements have to reflect the interests of European citizens and must be compatible with our standards, notably for health, agriculture and food safety, and with regard to our social model. Unfair trade practices are a red line, and all necessary measures must be taken in order not to cross it. Those impacted by sectoral adjustments will never be considered a mere statistic; they can count on our support.
In a highly globalised world, Europe must stay ahead by adapting to digital innovations and to the changes they bring. Digitalisation is not only about Internet connectivity: it’s about improving people’s lives.
In this context, we must focus on educating the workforce both for today and for tomorrow and on bringing our digital infrastructure up to date. We must prepare the next generations for jobs that do not yet even exist and equip them with a new set of skills. Investing in lifelong and adult learning and in continuous re-skilling will be a vital step towards ensuring that our citizens can easily find a job while at the same time keeping Europe competitive. Globalisation and digitalisation are already happening; together we can make this an opportunity that will benefit all Europeans.
For further reference, see the following EPP resolutions:
- Global Europe – Supportive, Respectful and Fair
- The Future of European Trade: Traditional values in tomorrow’s economy
- Smart farming: Bringing safe food, sustainable land management and jobs to rural areas
- Societal Challenges in Times of Digitalisation
- Boosting e-skills, decoding its potential