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Progress not possible without international cooperation

Posted by Nick Prag at 09 June 2016, 22:05 CET |

Looking at the various developments in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg this week, it is clear that the only way to progress in this globalised world is through international cooperation.

Here is a roundup of the cooperation agreements that were discussed or agreed this week:

On Sunday, a ground-breaking international treaty to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing came into force, at European and global level. Clearly one country doing this on its own would not get very far.

Also this week, the Commission set out an update of safety rules for passenger ships in EU waters. Again an example of where only international cooperation will do.

On Monday, nine countries from the North Seas region agreed to strengthen cooperation on energy, looking to collaborate on the planning and construction of offshore wind farms, from saving costs to harmonising regulations.

Tackling the migration crisis on one's own makes no sense. The EU announced Tuesday a new focus on partnerships with affected third countries, hoping to tackle the root causes of migration.

Also on Tuesday, the Commission was given a mandate to start talks on comprehensive air transport agreements with south-east Asian nations, Qatar, the UAE and Turkey. The goal of these EU-level aviation agreements is to create new business opportunities, improve market access and ensure fair competition under transparent market conditions. Why would one even think of trying to duplicate these efforts?

On Wednesday, Member States backed reform of a new Prospectus Regulation, with a view to overhauling prospectus rules that apply when firms wish to tap Europe's capital markets. Clearly to help companies in need of finance to gain access to European capital markets - not hinder them.

Also on Wednesday, MEPs gave their backing to a plan to lend Tunisia EUR 500 million on favourable terms. Not a hand-out, a loan which will help it reduce its external debt, undertake structural reforms and move towards sound management of its public finances.

Finally, new rules to make the costs of debit or credit card payments more transparent entered into force on Thursday, with the possibility of almost eliminating bank surcharges on consumer card payments, and so bringing direct benefits to European consumers.

This is not just legislative tinkering, these are important, comprehensive changes which will bring benefit to the Member States and to business and consumers alike.

Meaningful government in today's globalised world is not possible without international cooperation. It is dishonest to suggest that it is.

Brexit defenders need to face the facts. If the European Union did not exist, they would have to invent it.

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.