Published on :08-07-2007
In recent speeches and interviews, three of Europe’s leaders, President Sarkozy of France, Prime Minister Brown of the United Kingdom and Chancellor Merkel of Germany, all expressed support for free trade and globalization, while emphasizing the need for a “fair” globalization.
Nicholas Sarkozy, a conservative, won the April 2007 presidential elections. During his campaign he vowed to overhaul the French economy, but has also voiced concerns about globalization.
Statements by President M. Nicholas Sarkozy at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdon, July 20th 2007
I’d like to reassure our British friends, I’ve got nothing against competition. We are, moreover, in the process of implementing reforms which will enable the French economy to be more efficient and more modern. But, admittedly, I fought for competition to remain a means and not an end. This doesn’t call into question the benefits of competition, but I’d simply like to reiterate that Europe’s goal is full employment, growth and wealth creation. Competition is a means to achieve this, as is trade. Like Gordon Brown, I believe in globalization, I believe in free trade. But I’m going to tell you things very simply: I believe in fair, not unfair trade. I believe in fair, not unfair competition. Europe can’t be the only part of the world to play by the rules in the face of other parts of the world which adopt different rules. Some examples: we want, as Gordon does, to respect global balance. So we’re asking all parts of the world to respect global balance, so we’re asking all parts of the world to open their markets. Competition, yes, but fair competition. Opening them, yes, but on the basis of reciprocity. I’m in favour of a strong European line on this.
In June 2007, Gordon Brown assumed the role of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Having served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997 to 2007, Brown does not plan to make any radical policy shifts from those of his predecessor. In a recent interview with Time magazine, Brown has noted the need for a fairer globalization.
Excerpts from “Gordon Brown: The Time Interview” May 10th, 2007
GB:… I’d like to see Europe and America coming together to make the Doha trade talks work. I’m pressing for Europe and America to make proposals that would allow Brazil, India, the developing countries to come behind a trade deal that I believe we could agree on by the summer. That would be a practical example of how Europe and America, despite all the difficulties of the last few years, could come together to make sure the world is actually not just a more economically prosperous place but a fairer place.
GB: We need a global manifesto, a new agenda for globalization that the advanced industrial nations can share with the poorer countries. The trade talks illustrate a bigger issue. You’ve got to put the case for globalization in the sense that with open markets and flexibility and free trade you give people the chance to benefit from a global economy, but you’ve also got to show — and this is where sometimes the debate has fallen down — that you will help people get the skills and education and infrastructure to benefit from globalization. Globalization can be a force for justice on a global scale or it can be seen as the benefit going to a small section of the community at the expense of the rest.
(To read the full interview, click here: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/AM_2007/merkel.pdf.)
Germany has the largest economy in Europe and has greatly benefited from globalization. More than eight million jobs in Germany are dependent on exports. This year Germany took over the rotating presidency of the G8, in her opening remarks to the January 2007 summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel recognized that many fear globalization and its potential negative consequences, nonetheless she urged Europe to create policies that will bring about positive outcomes for all those involved.
Excerpts from the Opening Address by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany at the World Economic Forum, Davos, January 24, 2007
… Hope for one side means worry and fear for the others. We politicians know these concerns only too well and we must therefore do all we can to shape globalization in political terms. We must not neglect this aspect because people look to us and ask what we are doing to give globalization a human face. We know that within individual economies the consequences of globalization vary widely, and that there are still many countries cut off from the global upswing. In addition, the global competition is accelerating the rate of destruction of natural resources. Intellectual propertyIntellectual property refers to the creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary or artistic works, and the symbols, names, and designs used in commerce. protection is being eroded. It is obvious that many of the answers found to these questions to date no longer work properly, or that we still don’t have answers to many questions.
This means that dealing with the consequences of globalization is above all an intellectual challenge, not least for Europeans. During the past 200 years we, and indeed Europe as a whole, became accustomed to taking a highly Eurocentric view of the world. Today we see that this simple view no longer applies. To take up this year’s Davos motto once again – today’s equation of power contains many more variables than was previously the case. This makes many people insecure, particularly in Europe.
So what would be more obvious for Europe than for it to just hold its ground and cut itself off from the rest? We know that even in 2011 the European Union will still contribute four times as much to the world economy as China. Would it not be a successful strategy to exploit our strengths ruthlessly, secure the global resources necessary for our own prosperity just in time, and build a few walls to conceal our own weaknesses? My short and sweet answer is no. I’m firmly convinced that the process of globalization is one of liberalization because, as Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers, once said, “those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
….Ladies and gentlemen, let’s not kid ourselves: globalization frightens many people. However, I’m convinced that the essence of globalization today provides the world with many more opportunities than risks. It offers people the chance of more peace, more freedom and more prosperity. However, if these positive forces of globalization are to benefit everyone, we have to create a new balance of power: in world trade, in the consumption of resources, in education, in the fight against AIDS and in state finances. To put it in a nutshell, we need a global economy which complies with the rules of a fair regulatory framework.
(To read the full speech, click here: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/AM_2007/merkel.pdf.)