Gathered for the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 21-22 March 2011, parliamentarians underscored that multilateralism remained the best option to harness globalisation and manage interdependence, including through multilateral trade agreements that are rules-based and fair. They expressed concern over the asymmetries and imbalances in the global trading system that affect most severely the developing and the least developed countries. Redressing those imbalances is essential for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and for stimulating global economic recovery.
A more equitable system of global economic exchanges could not only bring multiple benefits to all countries but also help protect human rights and sustainable livelihoods. Europe that is a global reference for defending human rights and values should seek more actively to broaden the support for the ideals it cherishes. This is particularly relevant in the context of the shifting balance of power and the evolving rules of the game on the global stage.
The Parliamentary Assembly, building on its earlier debate on human rights and businesses, should therefore examine ways of influencing the global debate and promoting human rights, including labour rights, as an ethical reference in the world economy.