The activities of the Veblen Institute on trade issues have started with the campaign for responsibility in trade agreements. This campaign was conducted between august 2015 and June 2017 by a European network of civil society organizations, the Fair Economy Alliance, working in close collaboration with representatives from Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). It aimed to analyze the potential effects on SMEs of trade agreements which are currently being negotiated and to inform public debate about potential risks to local economies in Europe and in North America. In this context, Veblen Institute and its partners have been promoting socially and ecologically responsible trade agreements which contributes to the common good and provide a level playing field for all producers, not primarily benefiting large transnational companies.
Since July 2017, the Veblen Institute is working more broadly on the reform of the EU trade policy. Our work aims to put an end to the dangerous era of “autonomous” trade policy” and to embed international trade into key social, environmental, tax and other issues which are vital for our future. The EU has a key role to play in this respect: the access to its huge internal market should be used as a leverage in order to promote stronger and binding rules at international level in order to protect the environment and to fight against poverty, inequalities and tax avoidance.
In order to achieve this reform, trade policy has also to be conducted in a transparent way, under the democratic oversight of parliamentarians, civil society organizations and citizens.
This Veblen Institute for Economic reforms’ program is supported by the Schöpflin Stiftung and the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation.