RESPECT: Realizing Europe’s Soft Power in External Cooperation and Trade

January, 2018 to October, 2021
EU Horizon 2020

RESPECT is a project funded by the European Commission under HORIZON 2020 for the period 2018-2021.The project comprises a large consortium of members.

Seismic changes in global geopolitics, increasing contestation of trade integration initiatives with third countries, and challenges to ensuring coherence across external policy initiatives at EU and Member State level are making the pursuit of EU external policy objectives more complex. The overarching goal of the RESPECT project is to identify options and opportunities for better realising the EU’s soft power in achieving the external policy goals set by the Lisbon Treaty and the EU’s trade and development strategy. The project will develop multidisciplinary analysis of the effects of trade and trade policy on Non-Trade Policy Objectives (NTPOs) – relating to issues such as labour standards, political and civil rights and protection of the environment – as well as conceptual frameworks to better understand the economic drivers of external policies. Such work will aim to inform the design of a more coherent external policy mix for the European Union and its Member States.

Four broad objectives are pursued in RESPECT:

  1. Documenting the prevailing situation – the set of EU and Member States’ policies that together characterise the EU’s trade and investment-related policy regime;
  2. Improving the understanding of the inter-relationships between EU external policies and those of EU member states;
  3. Determining success factors for effective EU external policies; and
  4. Developing practical and operationally feasible recommendations to promote better EU external policy objectives.

The project centres on in-depth, multidisciplinary analyses based on methodological triangulation of the impacts of EU trade-related policies, broadly defined to include the investment policies and economic diplomacy activities of Member States. RESPECT will include analyses of EU policies towards different sets of trading partners as well as the external policies of China and the United States towards the EU. The project will include consultations with policymakers responsible for – and affected by – EU trade and external policies, and workshops with key stakeholder groups in and outside the EU.

The outcome of the research carried out within the project will be regularly disseminated via academic and policy publications, and discussed at events organised by the members of the Consortium.