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International economic issues

Global interdependencies have increased considerably over recent decades overall. The EU benefits from this process, which brings about economic prosperity. The Commission supports this process by providing analysis and policy advice on international economic issues relevant to the EU and by promoting global international cooperation.

The EU is one of the world’s key economic players, accounting for about 30% of global GDP and 20% of global trade flows, while the euro has emerged as a key international currency. The EU’s experience has a unique experience in terms of regional economic integration.

The EU's external economic relations

In order to manage this process of increasing economic and financial interdependencies, the European Union maintains economic dialogues with many countries and institutions in the world. Its ultimate objective is to foster economic prosperity and stability in the EU and, while serving the Union’s interests, also in the rest of the world.

The Commission’s Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs supports this by providing analysis and policy advice on international economic issues relevant to the EU, by spreading the values and principles of the Union’s economic framework and policy recommendations to other countries and by shaping the EU external economic policies and their implementation. This includes:

  • providing economic analysis and policy advice for the development and implementation of EU external policies, for example on enlargement, the European Neighbourhood Policy, Eastern Partnership and the EU’s development policy;
  • leading negotiations and regular dialogues on the economic aspects of bilateral relations, for example with EU candidate countries and EU Neighbourhood Countries, with G20 countries and within ASEM; regular exchanges with the multilateral and regional development banks;
  • ensuring the Commission’s presence in multilateral economic fora (for example, the G7/G8, G10, G20, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Financial Stability Board) and international financial institutions (for example, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development); and
  • managing macro-financial assistance to third countries. Liaising with other DGs that manage budget support within the different external assistance programmes with the aim of ensuring a consistent approach to the policy setting and implementation of these operations and ensuring coordination with other international financial institutions.

The lessons and experiences gathered from these activities are also fed into analysis and policy advice that informs policies in the Union, with particular regard to global economic developments and their potential effects on EMU, the international role of the euro, the reform of the international monetary system, the evolution of global external imbalances, the external representation of the EU and country-specific economic issues.

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