View graph of relations
In today’s multipolar world economy, the societal values and interests that underpin the European project are not shared and protected by all of the EU’s global economic partners. Economic advantage may entice countries to abandon the pursuit of political, social and economic fairness for purposes of attracting foreign investment. Recent EU free trade agreements, such as CETA, have pioneered limited protection against this risk in the area of basic labour and environmental standards. This paper explores a more ambitious, comprehensive framework for how individual rights associated with basic notions of societal fairness could be protected, not by treaty, but indirectly via multinational enterprises as the agents of globalization. It presents a proposal for a coordinated system of inward and outward investment screening to ensure the protection of such rights under existing international commitments and instruments. The paper outlines the areas of further research essential to rendering such a framework operational.