Making policies work

RESPECT: Realising Europe’s soft power in external cooperation and trade

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The three-year RESPECT project aims at identifying options and opportunities to realise the potential of the EU’s soft power in achieving the external policy goals set by the Lisbon Treaty and the EU’s trade and development strategy. It does so by looking at the effects of trade and trade policy on non-trade policy objectives – such as labour standards, political and civil rights, and environmental protection. The goal of the project is to inform a more coherent external policy for the European Union and its member states.

The RESPECT project involves ten institutions and a group of project associates. For more information, please visit the project’s official website.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about this project, please contact San Bilal at or Kathleen van Hove at

Our RESPECT work

ECDPM has been contributing to the RESPECT project by publishing a number of briefs and papers, as well as taking part in a number of meetings.


Recommendations to strengthen civil society engagement in EU trade agreements
Nadia Ashraf and Jeske van Seters, ECDPM brief, September 2020

Square pegs in round holes? Using trade policy for non-trade objectives
ECDPM’s Great Insights magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2, July 2020

The under-tapped potential of trade and investment promotion tools: The Enterprise Europe Network
Jeske van Seters and San Bilal, article for ECDPM’s Great Insights magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2

Making it count: Civil society engagement in EU trade agreements
Nadia Ashraf and Jeske van Seters, ECDPM paper, 6 July 2020

Towards an EU global COVID-19 response 2.0: Boosting smarter finance
San Bilal, ECDPM paper, June 2020

Sustainable EU business and trade: How the Enterprise Europe Network can promote trade beyond Europe
Jeske van Seters and San Bilal, ECDPM brief, March 2020

Report on the coherence between Europe’s trade and development policy
Philomena Apiko, San Bilal, Peter Holmes, Dan Lui, Julia Magntor Garrett and
Jim Rollo

Perspectives on the Soft Power of EU Trade Policy
San Bilal and Bernard Hoekman, contribution to external publication (e-book), July 2019

EU trade and external policy in troubled waters: a new e-book
San Bilal and Bernard Hoekman, article for Vox.EU, July 2019

For a complete list of RESPECT publications, please click here.


The future of trade policy and external cooperation: Is soft power passé?
23 September 2020

COVID-19 Trade and Development Agenda: African and Caribbean Perspectives and Expectations from Europe
18 June 2020

EU and trade policy coherence at the times of COVID-19
18 May 2020