The Hague / Brussels, July 9, 2015The global think tank Diplomatic Council (DC, and The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EuroChambres, share the vision of a harmonized European economic diplomacy. EuroChambres presented its “European Economic Diplomacy (EEC) Position Paper 2015” at the DC Executive Summit 2015. Thi Thai Hang Nguyen, Secretary General of the United Nations registered Diplomatic Council, expressed that the global think tank fully supports the guidelines for Economic Diplomacy as stipulated in the position paper.

The need for developing a comprehensive strategy on European Economic Diplomacy arises from the low number of EU SMEs active on international markets, the growing market opportunities in emerging economies, the challenges, which companies face when exporting and investing and the shortcomings in the institutional architecture to support the internationalisation of SME. While 25% of EU-based SMEs were involved in exports to the Internal Market and beyond, only 13% of EU SMEs are internationally active outside the EU through trade, investment or other forms of cooperation with foreign partners.
Whereas the EU’s share in the world economy continues to shrink, in the next 5 years, 90% of world growth is expected to be outside Europe. At present, only about 9.7 % of the manufacturing SMEs export goods to countries outside the EU. The recent economic and financial crisis has had a negative impact on the European economy and the business situation of entrepreneurs – especially SMEs.
Against this background, the need for a harmonised European Economic Diplomacy arises clearly. A better coordination of European policies and support tools is necessary in view of developing a coherent and effective response to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation. There is a strong need for a common, clear and comprehensive vision with regard to the international expansion of EU businesses that will strengthen the competitiveness of the EU economy. In general, exporting SMEs are more competitive, since they also tend to be more productive, more innovative and more skill intensive.
The EU and its Member States are invited to hold wide consultations and develop jointly the strategy on European Economic Diplomacy. EU institutions, procedures and initiatives have to follow suit to adapt to this vision. Frequent structured dialogues should be organised between EU diplomats and other officials working in the field of foreign affairs on the one hand and business intermediary organisations on the other hand, in third countries, in Member States and in Brussels.
“In light of the global economization, a modern foreign policy only achieves a sustainable effect through a targeted economic diplomacy”, says Thi Thai Hang Nguyen, Secretary General Diplomatic Council.

The Diplomatic Council (DC, is a United Nations (UN) registered global Think Tank founded with the objective to serve as a bridge between diplomacy, economy and society. Members committed and dedicated to the Diplomatic Council strongly believe that a thriving economy bringing prosperity to mankind is one of the best guarantors for peace. Consequently as members the Diplomatic Council welcomes not solely members of the diplomatic or consular corps but also personalities from industry, politics, society, culture and sports.

By Zen Chi

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