- Progressive Caucus met with Richard Kozul-Wright (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)
- “Beyond Austerity: Towards a New World Deal”
Progressive Caucus* organized a meeting in the European Parliament with Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
During meeting in Brussels, R. Kozul-Wright presented to the members of the Progressive Caucus -MEPs from the Socialists, the Greens and the Left- the 2017’s report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, entitled ‘Beyond Austerity: Towards a Global New Deal’. Emphasizing the lack of an alternative agenda for international trade by the progressive forces, he pointed out that the narrative that wants international trade relations and the World Trade Organization to be in crisis is proved to be wrong. “International trade continues to follow the same norms, international trade agreements continue to be formed on the same basis’’, he mentioned.
Kozul-Wright criticized the “common” argument against the Chinese development strategy, which is considered to abuse international trade relations -that China is a “big emerging economy that violates the rules of the system”. On the contrary, he referred to the importance of integrating emerging economies into this system. “With the new silk road, the Chinese example provides Europe with something that it does not have: a new Marshall plan for its trade and development agenda. China devotes money for these purposes, and Europe has to learn from this model’’, he said.
Elly Schlein, MEP for the Social Democrats and member of the Progressive Caucus’s Steering Committee stressing that “if emerging economies do not engage in world trade patterns and rules, then they simply will not apply to them, and a vicious circle of problems will arise”. ‘’Observing, for example, the trade agreements we have conducted with the various African countries and the damage they cause, we will understand many of the causes of immigration and refugee flows”, she added
Dimitris Papadimoulis, Vice-President of the European Parliament and member of the Progressive Caucus’s Steering Committee, expressed his support for the proposal of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for a new global New Deal on trade policies – one that prioritizes development policies, redistribution of wealth, the fight against tax evasion and the protection of workers’ rights. He stressed that the European Union must take initiatives compatible with the United Nations in an attempt to restart international trade relations. “While facing with the challenges of hyper-globalisation due to neo-liberal policies, and also the protectionism posed by neoconservative forces, our duty to form a new progressive response to the question of international trade policy becomes greater. We need a response based on political governance”, said Dim. Papadimoulis.
Florent Marcellesi, MEP for the Greens and also a member of the Progressive Caucus’s Steering Committee, posed the ecological dimension as part of such a response, noting that unfortunately it is undermined in the UN report.
Eleonora Forenza, MEP for the Left, raised the gender dimension in trade policies, stressing that “what defends the interests of investors is binding, as opposed to what guarantees women’s rights in the trading world”.
Socialist MEP Maria Arena pointed out that “we are not against international trade, but we are in favour of demanding the welfare of the people”.
The debate was co-ordinated by the Socialist MEP, Georgi Pirinski, also member of the Progressive Caucus’s Steering Committee.
It is worth noting that based on the findings of the report, to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, posed by the so-called developed economies, 1-3 trillion dollars are needed each year in investments -according to estimates. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development concludes that this target could be covered if only 10% of the world’s wealth-rich population were taxed by 5%.
*The Progressive Caucus is a space of dialogue based on confidence-building and open debate. Ιts aim is to analyze differences and build bridges between progressive allies in the European Parliament and across Europe. It has been established by progressive MEPs of different political groups and is open to everyone in the community of the European Parliament standing for solidarity, democracy, social justice and sustainability. In the Progressive Caucus participate MEPs from the S&D, the Greens/ EFA and the GUE/ NGL groups.
See here 2017’s report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, ‘Beyond austerity: Towards a global new deal’: http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/tdr2017_en.pdf