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Malmstrom: Should WTO collapse, there would be catastrophic consequences in economy

Göteborgs-Posten
Cecilia Malmström

The World Trade Organization (WTO) needs to be reformed urgently and needs to be strengthened, because at present it is incapable of making decisions, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said Thursday in Bucharest.

The European representative warned that should the WTO collapse, there would be catastrophic consequences in the economy. The EU must take a leading role in the reform of the WTO, Cecilia Malmstrom said.

The European official made these statements during a discussion session with the Romanian citizens, attended by the Romanian Minister for Business, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Stefan Radu Oprea.

The European Commission representative argued the importance of the WTO in the fact that many states grant massive subsidies to their own industries.

On the other hand, Cecilia Malmstrom has argued that small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the European economy, and they must be at the heart of the trade agreements that the European Union is carrying out.

We need to encourage SMEs to export, though some will not do it, Malmstrom added.

Business Environment Minister Stefan Radu Oprea said that SMEs need to know how to extract the benefits of the agreements the EU is negotiating. "We want to help the SMEs that cannot afford to have foreign trade specialists," Oprea said.

In other words, the European Commissioner for Trade also referred to the UK out of the European Union.

It is not clear whether there will be a Brexit with or without an agreement. It's hard to measure how big the losses will be, it's like a divorce, there will be losses for both the EU and the UK, but it is not known how big the financial losses will be, said Cecilia Malmstrom.

In his turn, the Romanian Business Environment Minister thinks that European SMEs will be deeply affected by Brexit. "European entrepreneurs hope that Brexit will not happen, that's what I felt when talking to them," Oprea added.

The European Commissioner referred to the crucial importance of trade for European citizens and for Romanians.

As many as 36 million jobs in the EU depend on exports from the Union to other countries. Romania's voice is heard in the EU. We listen to what citizens say, and the elections to the European Parliament are the most important way for Romanians to make their voices heard at the level of the European Commission, Cecilia Malmstrom said.

Stefan Radu Oprea replied, "More important than being heard to is to be listened to and to be understood."

One of the questions addressed by the Romanian citizens to the European Trade Commissioner aimed the Nordstream gas pipeline project.

We have to make sure that the interests of the national states are not against European laws. We will monitor Nordstream, Germany is not Russia's prisoner through Nordstream, these are too strong words. Nordstream is part of that kind of projects that are the choice of the member states, we are checking the procedures, added Cecilia Malmstrom.

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