Skip to main content

Objectives of the EU Trade Civil Society Dialogue

The European Commission is committed to consulting interested parties when drawing up policy and proposing action.

Trade topics
  • Trade policy

We want to listen and engage with civil society on trade issues

The European Commission is committed to consulting interested parties when drawing up policy and proposing action. DG Trade's Civil Society Dialogue involves regular, structured meetings to discuss trade policy issues.

The European Commissioner for Trade or DG Trade officials attend the meetings and inform participants of ongoing developments in EU trade policy, and listen to and exchange views with them.

DG Trade encourages broad representation in order to hear diverse opinions and encourages civil society to participate actively in the meetings.

We want to address civil society's concerns on trade issues

Globalisation has been happening for centuries, but its quickening pace in recent years has given rise to questions and concerns on a wide range of topics. People are rightly keen to ensure that trade policy does not negatively affect environmental protection, labour rights, competitiveness, poverty, and animal welfare.

We believe it is important to make time and resources available to debate the issues, answer questions and discuss possible courses of action. We organise meetings on topics of current interest.

The topics are chosen together with an informal contact group, comprising one representative from each of the broad categories of organisation involved in the Civil Society Dialogue. Each contact group member circulates information to their constituents in their area of activity.

We want to improve understanding on policy implementation 

We want to have a good discussion with civil society on the basis of sharing knowledge and best practice.

We value the opinions and expertise of civil society: debating topical issues that are shaping public opinion is an important way of updating, strengthening and deepening our knowledge base.

Such issues influence public perceptions of trade policy, so it is essential to discuss them, take them into account and to respond to them when formulating policy. We regularly provide feedback on the meetings organised with civil society and the minutes are posted on the DG Trade website.

We want to be transparent and accountable to civil society

Transparency is an essential part of good public administration and of public policy, including trade policy. The European Commission is committed to improving transparency in the way EU trade policy is developed.

Dialogue with civil society and posting documents on the DG Trade website are two ways we can do this.

The Transparency Register is an important element in transparency because it requires civil society to be open about their aims and how they are funded.

Related information

About the Transparency Register

The Transparency Register lists all the organisations willing to promote integrity and legitimacy in their relations with the European institutions. All civil society organisations and interest representatives that engage in influencing the policy formulation and decision-making processes of the European  institutions are invited to register.

In signing up, organisations are asked to accept a Code of Conduct and to provide information about their activities: what is their mission, who do they represent, and how they are funded. This ensures that both policymakers and the public can assess the strength of the interests promoting a particular policy.

Enroll your organisation in the Transparency Register

About the Consultation Mechanism

The Commission approach to consultation with stakeholders is established by the 'Minimum Standards for Consultation' adopted in 2002 (COM (2002)704).

With these standards, the Commission aims to ensure that all relevant parties are properly and equally consulted.

Tune in to trade policy insights

Picture of Valdis Dombrovskis

What does it take to steer EU trade policy through the challenges of our times?

Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis shares his insights into the inner workings of EU trade policy.

19/10/2023 | Episode 1 | 31 minutes

Picture of Denis Redonnet, Martin Lukas and Carolina Cumbo Nacheli

What does it take to defend open trade and help European companies compete fairly on the global market?

Tom Moylan meets the European Commission’s Chief Trade Enforcement Officer Denis Redonnet and two seasoned trade defence experts.

28/11/2023 | Episode 2 | 34 minutes

Latest news

  • Press release

The suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian exports to the European Union will be extended for another year, following today's adoption by the Council and April 23 vote in the European Parliament.

  • 1 min read

Latest events