Friday, 6 February 2009

EU Lisbon Treaty: International agreements

We take a look at how the EU Treaty of Lisbon codifies existing case law by the Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ) and clarifies the competences with regard to international agreements.


***

Original Lisbon Treaty

Article 2, point 170 of the original Lisbon Treaty adds a Title V International agreements to Part Five External action by the Union, and point 171 adds a new Article 188l (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/96–97):




INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

170) A Title V ‘INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS’ shall be inserted after Article 188 K.

171) The following Article 188 L shall be inserted:

‘Article 188 L

1. The Union may conclude an agreement with one or more third countries or international organisations where the Treaties so provide or where the conclusion of an agreement is necessary in order to achieve, within the framework of the Union's policies, one of the objectives referred to in the Treaties, or is provided for in a legally binding Union act or is likely to affect common rules or alter their scope.

2. Agreements concluded by the Union are binding upon the institutions of the Union and on its Member States.’.


***

Consolidated Lisbon Treaty

Article 188l (ToL) is renumbered Article 216 in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), published in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 9.5.2008 C 115/144:


TITLE V
INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

Article 216 TFEU

1. The Union may conclude an agreement with one or more third countries or international organisations where the Treaties so provide or where the conclusion of an agreement is necessary in order to achieve, within the framework of the Union's policies, one of the objectives referred to in the Treaties, or is provided for in a legally binding Union act or is likely to affect common rules or alter their scope.

2. Agreements concluded by the Union are binding upon the institutions of the Union and on its Member States.


***

Comment

Article 216 TFEU general in scope. When the separate European Community and the European Union are merged into one, one of the complexities is resolved.

The provision refers to the explicit powers (‘where the Treaties so provide’) as well as to the implicit powers as they have been laid down by the ECJ.

The latter part of the first sentence echoes Article 3(2) TFEU on exclusive competence for the conclusion of international agreements.


***

Further reading


For a fuller discussion of legal questions concerning EU external powers you can turn to one of the following publications:

Chapter 6 EU international relations law, in Paul Craig and Gráinne de Búrca: EU Law – Text, Cases, and Materials (Fourth edition, 2008; Oxford University Press).

Marise Cremona: External Relations of the EU and the Member States: Competence, Mixed Agreements, International Responsibility, and Effects of International Law (EUI Working Papers Law No 2006/22)

Marius Vahl: International agreements in EU neighbourhood policy (Sieps report 2006:10)



Ralf Grahn