Opinion & Analysis

The future of sustainable development chapters in EU free trade agreements


Sustainable development is an important part of the EU trade policy since it gets on meeting the needs of the present whilst ensuring future generations can meet their own needs.

All EU FTAs include a Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter, which seeks to ensure that partners follow international requirements in the three pillars that compose sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. The adoption of the UN Agenda 2030 in 2015, which sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, and the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, have pushed the Commission to review its TSD chapter and to table a new proposal, identifying 15 action points drawn from the large debate with member states, the European Parliament as well as the civil society launched eight months before.

In order to feed the forthcoming debates within the European Union institutions, academic experts in the three dimensions of the sustainable development as well as representatives of the European Union institutions have been invited to the workshop to share their views, not only on the binding aspect of TSD provisions, but also on how various European Union policies can be worked together to achieve the best results.

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