A fourth Advanced Training Course (ATC) of the Marie Curie network on EU Trade an Investment Policy (formerly TTIP-ITN) was held in Brussels 14-15 May 2018 under the aegis of the Egmont Institute. Egmont - the Royal Belgian Institute of International Relations - is one of the 11 beneficiaries of the network coordinated by Professor Martin Trybus from Birmingham. The ATC took place in the beautiful Egmont Palace in central Brussels.
The ATC programme focussed on the ‘Politics of Trade and Investment’ and illuminated a wide range of aspects regarding the politics of EU trade and investment policy covered in several presentations delivered by academics and practitioners. The two-day conference was also open to external participants in their early (research) careers.
The event was kicked off on the first day (14 May) by Sven Biscop, lead supervisor of the Egmont Institute, and saw the presentations of four academics. Sieglinde Gstöhl, Director of the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium), discussed the actors, processes, and negotiations in EU trade policy-making. This was followed by a discussion of the goals and challenges of EU trade policy led by Ferdi De Ville, Assistant Professor at the Centre for EU Studies of Ghent University (Belgium). Jaques Pelkmans, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels presented an encompassing account on ‘TTIP : definition, rationale(s), opposition, negotiations’ prospects’, followed by Dirk De Bièvre from the University of Antwerp (Belgium), who presented research and findings on the success of EU trade policy against the odds of major contestation following the TTIP negotiations.
On the second day (15 May), several practitioners from the private and public sector gave their accounts on EU trade policy. Eleonora Catella from Business Europe in Brussels (Belgium) explained the interests and representation of interests groups, civil society, and other stakeholders in EU trade policy. Rem Korteweg from the Clingendael Institute in The Hague (Netherlands) provided insights into the geopolitical implications of trade agreements and the European dimension of this. Richard Tibbels, Head of US & Canada Division at the European External Action Service (EEAS) gave an overview of the state of transatlantic relations and discussed topical events and issues with the group. Finally, Hiddo Houben, Head of Unit USA & Canada at DG Trade, EU Commission and Chief Deputy negotiator of the TTIP, gave insights into the Transatlantic trade relationship and its current issues and pathways, allowing ample room for questions from the group.