What are the implications for European trade policy? First of all, public opinion
neither provides for rejection nor enthusiastic support. Rather, it emphasizes the
need to (better) communicate trade policy’s rationale, implementation and
results both at European and member state level. If anything, this is even more
important when it comes to issues beyond traditional tariff protection.
At the same time, EU trade policymakers are well-advised to take the mix of concerns
about trade’s distributional effects and the more general sense of (economic)
weakness and decline seriously.
Trade is easier to blame than technology and if
there is the perception that the benefits created are too small and not shared
widely enough the foundations for openness ‒ something the European
economy thrives on ‒ are eroding.