Check out the daily Political Notes.

EU-US Economic Partnership

Here are my responses to the consultation in this link. They might interest some readers.

Strengthening the EU-US Economic Partnership

Background Information

I am answering as(Compulsory)
individual person

Name of organisation (please write "none" if you are answering as an individual person)(Compulsory)

Your organisation's area of establishment (of residence if individual)(Compulsory)
United States

Number of employees/members in your organisation(Compulsory)

Name of contact person(Compulsory)
Richard Stallman

Email address(Compulsory)


The Commission services are interested in your views, inter alia on the following questions:

Q1: What in your view are the most significant obstacles to closer EU-US economic integration?
The main obstacle is that greater economic integration with the US is not good for Europeans or Americans.

Q2: What practical measures should be undertaken to remove the obstacles?
None. More obstacles should be created.

Q3: What additional measures could be taken to further transatlantic economic integration to the fullest, spur innovation, create jobs and better realise the competitive potential of our economies and enterprises?
Innovation is desirable, all else being equal, but economic integration won't help that. Meanwhile, economic integration causes harm in other areas. It would most likely cut jobs, and the remaining jobs would have worse working conditions. It would interfere with regulation of industry in essential areas such as environmental protection, public health, data protection and prevention of surveillance, and labor rights.

Q4: The EU-US bilateral trade and economic agenda has achieved some progress, especially through the Financial Markets Regulatory Dialogue, the Guidelines for Regulatory Cooperation and Transparency, the Galileo-GPS agreement on satellite navigation and the Mutual Recognition Agreement on marine equipment. Should more of this be done? Which new areas do you suggest?

Q5: What measures would be appropriate to promote good corporate governance and reliable financial information in the transatlantic market?
The US government has no political will to do this; it has been captured too completely by business interests, and not the most scrupulous of business interests either. Europe will have to do this on its own, which is another reason to avoid economic integration. If the US stock market is sinking into a swindle, Europe should keep itself clean.

Q6: Can you suggest essential steps that should be taken to ease transatlantic direct and indirect investment ?
There's no harm in helping Americans to invest directly in European companies, but you'd best not encourage investment in American companies. See this.

Q7: Do you have any proposals on how to protect the environment, consumer interests and health and safety as well as labour standards, while simultaneously promoting further economic integration?
It's impossible. The US government is set on knocking down these vital social interests. To protect them in Europe requires making sure European companies that must respect these social interests need not face unfair competition from American companies that don't.

Q8: To what extent do new border and transport security measures have an impact on trade, investment and travel? If they do have a negative impact, what remedies would you propose?
Many people I know in Europe will not go to the US because they resent US treatment of visitors and general US government disrespect for civil liberties, rights of the accused, etc. When I was in Germany, in early November, I convinced a friend there to start a movement among graduate students to state publicly that they would not go to US universities to work or study. Europe should pressure the US to respect human rights. I recommend the abolition of all Mutual Legal Assistance treaties, as they directly threaten human rights in the countries that participate in them.

Q9: Does the administration of export controls and transfers of know how in the US and the EU work satisfactorily in balancing the objectives of trade and security? If not, what measures should be taken jointly to improve the situation?
Q10: What additional steps, if any, should be taken jointly to protect Intellectual Property Rights?
The term "intellectual property rights" spreads a misunderstanding of the purpose of copyright and patent law, which leads to systematic misjudgement of any issue pertaining to one of them. It also encourages people to lump these two disparate laws (and others) together, impeding thoughtful consideration of the disparate issues they raise. So the term should be avoided entirely. See this.
Although copyright and patent law are very different, both of them are applied too harshly in Europe today--in completely different ways, of course. Copyright is too restrictive of individuals who want to share noncommercially with other individuals. Patent law is being applied in domains such as software and business methods where it obstructs progress (see this.) and restricts every computer user.

Q11: Do you experience problems when tendering for public contracts in the US? If so, what should be done to remedy these problems?

Q12: What should be done to further liberalise transatlantic trade in services, including professional qualifications?

Q13: Do you think that a further reduction or elimination of tariffs between the EU and US is important? If so, which or in which sectors?

Q14: Do you have any comment on the possible impact that strengthening EU-US bilateral integration might have on the multilateral trading system and the interests of developing countries?
Democracy is a vital interest of every country. A major threat to democracy today is that companies can too easily move their operations from one country to another. So if one country's government considers measures to protect the environment or public health, or improve the general standard of living, businesses threaten to move operations out. In effect, they checkmate democracy.
Therefore, the most important thing to do in the area of international trade is to make it difficult for companies to move operations from one country to another. Increased EU-US integration is likely to have the opposite effect, so it should be blocked.

Q15: How can we enhance transparency and public participation in the transatlantic economic dialogue?
One good idea might be to have a referrendum across the EU about the relative priorities people give to various goals, which might include economic integration as one option, and other options would include environmental protection, conservation (peak oil is just a few years away), medical care, helping the poor (as many European countries already do), supporting labor rights, human rights, etc.

Q16: Do you have any other comments or suggestions?

Return to Richard Stallman's home page.