In the last two decades, the European Union (EU) has consistently advocated the use of trade agreements as a means to promote norms and principles such as economic liberalism, sustainable development, and human rights, both globally and towards developing countries. While this stance is in line with the EU’s self-representation as an ethical and normative power, it also raises important questions concerning the origins of EU trade policy preferences. Do normative aspirations truly motivate EU trade policy strategies with developing countries? To what extent do these strategies reflect the interests of key domestic constituencies? This chapter offers an overview of the main official documents laying out the normative aspirations of EU trade policy and then introduces the research questions and methodology that guide the subsequent analyses. More generally, the chapter introduces the reader to the book’s content: a comparative analysis of the politics underlying the strategy adopted by the EU in the negotiations of comprehensive trade agreements with developing countries since 2010.
KeywordsEU trade strategies norms interest groups NGOs
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