Motion for a Resolution by the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Once bitten, twice shy: now that the war in Ukraine has made Europe painfully aware of its reliance on Russia for energy, the EU is keen not to fall into the same trap twice. With the continent still depending on third states such as China for raw materials and technologies, how can the EU increase its strategic autonomy and stay true to its values?

Submitted by: Sofia Boll (NL), Robert Bunt (NL), Sam Donker (NL), Gabriel Füllhaas (CH), Ruben den Hamer (NL), Evelien Korving (NL), Sydney van der Sar (NL), Shivani Sharma (NL), Felix Crawford (Chairperson, NL)

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Alarmed by the increased instrumentalization of trade by certain third countries as a way to influence the political decisions of the European Union and its Member States,
  2. Realising that the EU’s reluctance to implement the Human Rights Clause is linked to promoting political dialogue,
  3. Affirming the need for consistency between trade partners regarding the implementation of the Human Rights Clause,
  4. Aware the EU faces a large trade deficit and many external dependencies,
  5. Recognising that business owners and national economies are put at risk when drastically and immediately shifting trade policies,
  6. Reaffirming the previously established trade policy of the European Council;
  1. Instructs the Directorate-General for Trade (DG TRADE) to reevaluate foreign investments based upon reliability and ethics;
  2. Further instructs the DG TRADE to pursue more diversified international partnerships to spread risk;
  3. Requests Eurostat to create a database about companies working in the EU which details:
    1. a grading system for reliability1 that is applicable throughout the EU,
    2. a label for those enterprises that appear favourably in the grading system,
    3. a yearly report on the transparency of companies and nations that trade with the EU;
  4. Directs the European Parliamentary Research Service to expand the Strategic Autonomy Monitor (SAM)2 to include trustworthiness of companies and businesses;
  5. Suggests that Member States incentivise companies to hold themselves to a higher ethical standard by:
    1. harmonising their national tax systems to subject unreliable companies to a higher tax rate,
    2. redirecting these additional tax revenues to reliable companies and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs);
  6. Proposes that the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) exempts Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in EU border regions deemed ethical and beneficial to the EU from an appropriate percentage of import duties3;
  7. Invites the European Commission to investigate abnormal or suspicious behaviour from enterprises judged to be unreliable by the SAM;
  8. Encourages the United Nations Human Rights Council to continue their work on the global protection of workers’ rights through international treaties;
  9. Strongly encourages the European Commission to add a sub-clause to the Human Rights Clause4 in future agreements which enables sanctions as a first step in case of human rights violations;
  10. Recommends the European Court of Justice to establish a mediation program for smaller disagreements between Member States on trade policy to avoid litigation;
  11. Urges Member States to further align foreign policies, including sanctions, to enhance a united approach;
  12. Suggests the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) to foster larger joint strategic reserves5 for products with volatile markets;
  13. Asks the European Environmental Agency to spearhead research on recycling critical raw materials.
  1.  In this context, reliability is characterised by consistent economic stability and ethical alignment with the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.
  2.  The Strategic Autonomy Monitor is a mechanism with which the EU measures its independence from other global factions.
  3.  As the EU has a closed-market economy, it imposes import duties on businesses operating out of non-EU countries.
  4.  The Human Rights Clause of the EU is a clause that has been added to nearly all bilateral trade agreements the EU has made since the 1980s, stating that the EU can terminate any agreements when there is sufficient proof of the violation of human rights. 
  5.  Strategic Reserves are large stockpiles of a specific product, meant to influence the market price or availability of said product.