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Britain, the EU and global trade

  • Date(s)
    25 February 2016
  • Time
    9.30-12.30 (Registration and coffee from 9.00)
  • Address
    Central London
Britain, the EU and global trade

While Britain is heading towards a high-stakes referendum on EU membership, the capacity to speak with one voice and conclude trade and investment deals for 28 member states is often presented as one of the most powerful pro-EU arguments. Progressive voices across Europe stress the opportunity, through the EU’s trade agenda, to shape globalisation in a more human way by contributing to setting future global norms.

Yet these assertions fail to convince the public, and the EU's capacity to deliver is under mounting scrutiny. The lack of trust in investment protection mechanisms, the fear to give away intellectual property and geographical indications regimes, and the lack of reciprocity have, for instance, crippled progress towards the completion of the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

This half-day conference co-funded by the European commission and held in partnership with UCL’s European Institute aims to take stock on the EU’s trade agenda. Commissioner Malmström will deliver a keynote speech and engage with the audience in a Q&A session. A high-level political and expert panel will further the debate around the following key questions:

•    What have been recent successes and disappointments of EU trade policy?
•    Is progress being made towards a transparent, reciprocal and ambitious TTIP?
•    Can the EU deliver on its trade agenda at a time of public anxiety and populist pressures?
•    Would Britain and other individual member states benefit from conducting trade negotiations outside the EU framework?   

Session 1

Welcome Remarks:

Peter Mandelson, president, Policy Network, former EU trade commissioner and former UK business secretary

Keynote Speaker:

Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for trade

followed by a Q&A session moderated by Peter Mandelson


Session 2


Anna Edwards, co-anchor, 'Countdown' Bloomberg News

Panel Speakers:

Frances O'Grady, general secretary, Trades Union Congress

Lockwood Smith, high commissioner of New Zealand to the UK

Andrew Cahn, vice-chair of Nomura International and former chief executive, UK Trade and Investment

Iana Dreyer, founder and editor, Borderlex


This event is hosted in partnership with the European Commission's Office in the UK and the UCL European Institute.


This conference is a Policy Network initiative. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it will contain

This week Policy Network, together with the Foundation for the Foundation of European Progressive Studies (Feps), the Global Progressive Forum, the Fondation Jean-Jaurès, Solidar and the Renner Institut, published three contributions informing the debate on TTIP. Read the contributions here


For a round up of the event, read our Storify here

For audio recordings, click here for Cecilia Malmström's keynote speech, and here for the panel session



To watch highlights from the event, please see below:

Britain, the EU and Global Trade from UCL European Institute on Vimeo.

Photo credit:  Yanni Koutsomitis

Further information

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