Brussels – The European Commission today published a review of its policy on trade and sustainable development. Today’s announcement by the Commission is a response to long-standing concerns raised by EU national governments and civil society that sustainability standards are not effectively enforced in trade agreements.

Greenpeace Germany trade campaigner Lis Cunha said: “This review process has been a  missed opportunity to make EU trade policy more sustainable. On the one hand, the Commission has finally acknowledged the major flaw in its trade policy: that the protection of human rights, nature and the climate is treated as an add-on in just one chapter, instead of being fully integrated in all provisions of a trade deal. On the other hand, the Commission has not put forward convincing measures to address the potential negative impacts of trade agreements on the environment and people. 

The arbitrary decision to make some sustainability standards sanctionable while leaving others toothless shows that the Commission lacks the ambition to implement in practice what it claims to want on paper. 

Crucially, the possibility for sanctions won’t apply to trade agreements that are already in place or those finalised but not yet ratified. Instead, the Commission makes this an exercise for the far future and delays the alignment of EU trade policy with the Green Deal – allowing harmful deals like EU-Mercosur to burn down the planet in the meantime.”


First announced in February 2021, today’s review is the result of a year-long process undertaken by the European Commission, which included a public consultation and a comparative analysis study.

Greenpeace’s joint contribution with MISEREOR to the European Commission’s public consultation can be found here


Lis Cunha, Greenpeace Germany trade campaigner: [email protected]

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, [email protected]

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