The EU?s mission to fight world poverty is to de-globalise agriculture

Original Publication Date: 
23 November, 2006

Introduction: the main challenge to the EU is the growing poverty and hunger in Africa

The purpose of the conference is to discuss the EU place in the globalised world and the ways and means to adapt the EU institutions and citizens' behaviour to the challenges of this world, on the levels of economy, social justice, international migrations and security.

The unavowed objective might be to legitimate the actual "EU model" on all these levels, allowing however some space to suggest partial improvements that would not impose too drastic changes to the model. It seems also to imply that the globalisation, in the sense of an increased liberalization of markets, of a "more open, market based, system of economic governance", is an irreversible tendency which is good for every human being.

A better objective would be to decentre the analysis from the EU to the world, appraising the state of this globalised world on all these levels, diagnosing the extent to which the EU has influenced this state and how it could change its "model" to build a more sustainable world for everybody, including in the EU. Clearly the EU-25 is not without influencing largely the world state, given its economic and political weight: 30% of the world GNP in 2005, 18% of the world merchandises exports (36% with EU intra-trade) and 28% of the world commercial services exports, 55% of the world public development assistance to developing countries (DCs), 50% of the UN funds and programs, leading positions in international institutions (IMF, World Bank, G7, key role in the WTO negotiations, etc.).

In order to assess better the present situation and the reorientation to give to the European policies, it is also important to place oneself in a long term perspective, let us say up to 2050.

It is what the European Commission has done with the conclusion that the expected overall benefits of globalisation could be huge for the EU: "In terms of quantifying the gains, the simulations show that while the benefits of globalisation have been close to zero for the EU over the period 1990-2003, with effective restructuring the EU has the potential to reap a permanent, annual, income gain of 8% (i.e.