A special Eurobarometer survey has found that a majority of EU residents take a positive view of international trade practices.
The Eurobarometer, which interviewed 27,438 respondents across 28 EU Member States in May 2019, found that 71% of the Europeans surveyed said they believed the EU is more effective as a trade partner when acting as a bloc than its Member States would be individually. 60% of respondents – 16 percentage points higher than the previous survey, conducted in 2009 – said they personally benefited from the EU’s international trade agreements; and 60% said they trusted the EU to main transparency in its trade practices.
In the last five years, the EU has entered into 16 new trade agreements. The bloc’s international trade deals support 36 million jobs across the EU, an increase of five million since 2014: the Eurobarometer report showed that 54% of Europeans indicated that jobs creation should be the EU’s main priority in forming trade agreements. 75% agreed that rules governing international trade were necessary, with around 33% suggesting they felt it would be ‘naïve’ to assume other countries will adhere to those rules. More than 50% said that third countries which flouted international trade rules should be subject to increased duties on EU imports.
Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström said: “When I took office five years ago, there was a lot of criticism against international trade and how the Commission conducted trade negotiations. We therefore decided to reform the way we do trade policy. Through increased transparency, we wanted to create trust. This Eurobarometer survey proves that we were successful: citizens feel more positive about trade today than ten years ago. A majority of citizens considers that trade benefits them directly and that the Commission is transparent in its negotiations. This is very positive in times of growing protectionism and trade conflicts around the globe.”