On 21 February, Commissioner Malmström discussed with an audience of approximately 100 people about the European Union’s trade policy, ahead of an informal meeting of trade ministers in Bucharest, Romania.
The exchange covered a wide range of topics and elicited many reactions from citizens, both present in the audience and watching online. The Commissioner called on them to vote in the European elections in May 2019.
Participants addressed some trade issues, such as the EU’s trade relationship to the United States and how to pursue it. One participant asked Commissioner Malmström what she had changed in terms of international trade during her mandate, while another wanted to know what the EU’s position was on the reform of the World Trade Organisation.
Also on the subject of trade, a participant asked how the EU protects small and medium-sized enterprises in their trade relations. The discussion also addressed the way in which the EU reacts to informal trade barriers and to double standards in products.
The discussion then turned to issues of national interest in Romania, such us the difficulties faced by small and medium-sized enterprises in paying their debts when the national currency devaluates.
One participant asked Commissioner Malmström about her views on the lack of predictability of Romania’s legislation and what could be done to solve this problem.
The economic impact of Brexit in Romania and the EU in general, and the deterioration of the rule of law in the country were other topics brought up by participants during the discussion.
On a more personal note, a participant praised the EU’s role as a peace project: ‘I am happy that the Commissioner is a woman and that the European Union is a peace project. It should continue to emphasise collaboration, cooperation and trade’.
Finally, another participant expressed concern about Germany’s interest in the Nord Stream 2 project interfering with the Union’s common interests.