People in Zeil, a pedestrian precinct in Frankfurt

© iStock.com/Meinzahn

As part of the discussions on the future of the European Union, the European Commission has tabled a reflection paper on "Harnessing globalisation". The paper looks at the impact of globalisation and sets out proposals on how to shape a global rulebook for trade and investments and on how to boost the EU's competitiveness.

Said Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Brigitte Zypries: "We are taking very seriously the concerns and worries that people have about globalisation. It is important that we make these part of our discussions on the future of the EU. It is our desire and our duty to shape globalisation in a way that makes it fair. Globalisation needs rules. This is the only way for us to ensure broad-based inclusion that benefits all. Our aim must be to keep everyone on an equal footing and to create a level playing field for our European economies. I therefore particularly welcome the fact that the Commission has taken account of our concerns about one-sided strategic direct investments made by foreign companies in areas that are sensitive in terms of our security or our industrial policy. In a world that is becoming increasingly digitised, with trading areas growing together ever more closely, we need to stand up against protectionism. Europe remains the world's largest trading area. We ought to make use of this and work together to actively shape globalisation at EU level."

It is important for the EU to advocate open markets and clear, inclusive, and fair rules that benefit everyone involved in global trading relations. This also means fostering transparency, education, research and investment – including investments in digital infrastructure – and making use of cohesion policy as a key element of EU economic and employment policy. Trade must benefit everyone and help citizens cope with the changes associated with globalisation.