Former European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday warned the annual Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum that “ugly nationalism” was challenging the global economic order.
Barroso, EU president from 2004-2014, in a keynote speech to some 2,000 delegates at the forum in Western Australia said risks from protectionism emerging “from the Americas to Asia” was not only taking form as tariffs on trade, such as those being imposed on U.S. imports, but also on restrictions on investment.
United States-EU trade relations had overtaken concerns of Britain’s withdrawl from the 27-member trade bloc next year, according to Barroso.
“It has become a top priority of European leaders,” he said.
Barroso said that while countries such as China, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands were among the economic winners due to globalisation trends, former powerhouses Russia and the United States were losing out due to a global rebalance of power.
Barroso voiced concern that the United States, responsible for establishing a new world order at the end of World War Two that led to the founding of the United Nations, the OECD and other institutions, was now eroding that the order.
He also voiced concern that Russia had become less diversified in the decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, relying almost solely on oil and gas for export revenue.
Barroso said he was hopeful Britain would maintain commercial and trade relationships with the EU following finalisation of Brexit in March 2019, but added Britain must realise that the decision leave would restrict its leverage in negotiations.