European Commission’s Hall of Shame > Press Release 15 September 2003

Emperor Lamy without clothes














Cancún Collapse: Pascal Lamy must resign

Corporate Europe Observatory press release
15 September 2003

In stark contrast to its proclaimed ‘development agenda’, European Commission aggressively confronted developing countries in WTO talks

“The collapse of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancún has opened a perfect opportunity for the EU to move away from its current corporate-centred trade policies”, says Erik Wesselius, researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). The summit failed when developing country governments refused to accept a draft declaration heavily biased to the EU and US agenda, including green light for continued agriculture export subsidies and the launch of WTO negotiations on controversial new issues such as investment and government purchasing. The Cancún Ministerial will stand out as a historical moment. Developing countries organised effectively and didn’t give in to the bribery and arm-twisting by which the EU and the US attempted to force them into accepting a negotiating agenda that would run counter to developing country interests.

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) calls upon trade commissioner Pascal Lamy to resign as soon as possible. Lamy is politically responsible for the EU’s deeply flawed negotiating strategy, which left developing countries no choice but to walk out. “The EU’s aggressive and self-serving negotiating strategy in Cancún angered developing countries, even more so because of the excessive doses of ‘pro-development’ spin which Lamy uses at every occasion”, says Erik Wesselius. Even when on Thursday a coalition of over 70 developing country governments expressed their clear rejection of negotiations on investment liberalisation and other new issues, the EU continued to push for such talks to be included in the summit declaration. The EU’s 11th hour offer (on Sunday) to postpone the launch of two of these new issues was too little, too late.

As a first step towards a fundamental overhaul of EU trade policies, Lamy must resign. If necessary, the European Parliament should step in and force him to do so. “Instead of serving the expansion of corporate interests, the EU’s international trade and investment policies must serve the world’s poorest and the global environment”, says Erik Wesselius.

Comprehensive critique of the European Commission’s record during Pascal Lamy’s time as Trade Commissioner.

A critical analysis of the European Commission’s ‘pro-development’ spin, see for instance Distorting reality - the EC’s misleading rhetoric

See also The Cunning Bully - EU bribery and arm-twisting at the WTO