The EU should use its trade power strategically

Τhe European Union’s internal debate has involved a lot of navel-gazing lately. Feeling squeezed between the United States and China, yet not fully equipped to take a leading role in the neighborhood, European leaders are pondering the challenge of becoming more autonomous and more geopolitical.

While thinking about how to become a stronger foreign policy player, Europe should use the leverage that it already has—trade.

No country has more trade agreements than the European Union (50 in force or provisionally applied). As a superpower in trade with the only real internal market in the world, the European Union possesses an attractive negotiating asset. A free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union gives its trading partners access to a unified market with one set of rules for 27 countries and 450 million consumers. Trade agreements facilitate trade and investment, which leads to jobs and growth.

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