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European Commission reflection paper on harnessing globalisation

This reflection paper situates the Smart Specialisation Strategies and regional innovation as a key instrument to harness globalisation.

Abstract

The reflection paper opens up a vital debate on how the EU can best harness globalisation and respond to its opportunities and challenges:

On the external front, the paper focuses on the need to shape a truly sustainable global order, based on shared rules and a common agenda. The EU has always stood for a strong and effective 'multilateral' global rulebook and should continue to develop it in a way that addresses new challenges and ensures effective enforcement. For example, the EU could push for new rules to create a level-playing field by addressing harmful and unfair behaviour like tax evasion, government subsidies or social dumping. Effective trade defence instruments and a multilateral investment court could also help the EU act decisively against countries or companies that engage in unfair practices.

On the domestic front, the paper suggests tools to protect and empower citizens through robust social policies and providing the necessary education and training support throughout their lives. Progressive tax policies, investing in innovation and strong welfare policies could all help redistribute wealth more fairly. The European Structural and Investment Funds, together with the national contributions, provide the financial support to smart specialisation strategies that build on regional strengths, helping them to move up value chains, and stimulate private sector and target investments on key priorities and challenges, while preventing brain drain and rural flight.