Europe's unfair trade deals
We campaigned against Europe’s unfair trade deals from April 2008 to December 2009.
We are not against trade, but we do want to stop the European pirates stealing our resources"
- Norma Maldonado, Guatemala
In 2006. the European Union announced a new trade strategy which targeted developing countries for trade deals. These trade deals were clearly stacked in favour of European companies, for example unrestricted access to raw materials from poor countries and demanding less regulation for European corporations. The trade strategy also tried to get poor countries to open up their markets to subsidised, imported European goods and produce, rather than allowing space for developing countries to build their own industries.
The campaign got a quarter of all UK MEP candidates at the 2009 European parliamentary election to sign up to the TJM ‘trade pledge’. Candidates committed to take action if they were elected to get a review of EU trade policy and to promote coherence between trade and development issues.
WDM groups and supporters took an active part in lobbying their MEPs and candidates in the run up to the election. In total, 80 UK MEP candidates signed the pledge, including 19 elected MEPs. Together with our partners in the global south and in collaboration with our European partners, WDM raised the issue of EU’s unfair trade deals on the political agenda in Europe.
After the 2009 European election, WDM continued to play a role to ensure that the newly appointed European commissioners were questioned and scrutinised on their views on EU trade policy. A WDM group said of the trade campaign: “It was good to highlight trade issues to European politicians, as many of them were not aware of them before, and breaking the barrier of ignorance is a key first start”.
The campaign produced a range of promotional materials, including videos and briefings, to help drive its key messages to a wider audience.
A silent movie which gives a tongue-in-cheek look at European trade policy, its origins and its impacts on countries in the Global South.
Satirical explanation of Europe’s aggressive trade strategy
Briefings and reports
- Inside Global Europe: Explaining Europe’s trade strategy
- WDM and trade – The history of WDM’s trade campaigning
- Global Europe map
- European banks fail the poor