The discursive legitimisation of a market-oriented EU trade policy through “European values” in a post-permissive consensus era: From 2006 Global Europe to 2015 Trade for All
The recent politicisation of the EU has brought down the traditional “permissive consensus” in regards to European integration. The increasing public attention given to the EU has situated the European Commission under scrutiny, and a values-based discourse has emerged in unexpected policy areas. One of these areas is EU trade policy, an area that did not attract much public attention until the recent mass protests against ACTA, TTIP and CETA. The chapter aims at explaining how the mobilisation of European values evolves in EU trade policy from the non-politicised era of the 2006 “Global Europe” agenda to the politicised context of the 2015 “Trade for All” strategy. Empirically, the chapter undertakes a discourse analysis to understand in which context European values are mobilised, what meaning is given to them and with what purpose. The chapter argues that the recent inclusion of European values in EU trade policy discourse is an attempt by the European Commission to respond to the politicisation of the EU, bridging the coordinative with the communicative discourse, thereby appealing further to input and throughput legitimacy, rather than the traditional output legitimacy.