Sailing uncharted waters – for how long? On transitional post-Brexit trade arrangements

Given the short timeframe for negotiating an exit agreement, the UK and the EU-27 may not be able to agree on new terms for their future trade relations before the UK’s formal exit from the EU takes effect. Consequently, many experts are pushing for a transitional arrangement.

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Brexit and the Single Market: You say Article 50, we say Article 127?

Hard on the heels of the Article 50 case heard last week by the UK Supreme Court, comes the announcement of another challenge to the UK Government’s Brexit plans, this time based on Article 127 of the EEA agreement. Much like Article 50 TEU, that provision allows contracting parties to the EEA agreement to withdraw from it. The claimants in the Article 127 challenge contend that withdrawal from the EU under Article 50 will not lead to withdrawal from the EEA, given that with Article 127 the EEA agreement contains its own termination clause. Hence their argument goes that unless the Government also triggers Article 127, the UK will stay in the EEA even after Brexit; and that would mean that the UK would remain in the single market. Much like the Article 50 case, the impending court case therefore seeks a declaration by the High Court that the Government cannot trigger Article 127 without prior approval of Parliament. The claimants’ hope is that while Parliament may feel politically bound by the EU referendum result to allow the Government to leave the EU, it may not vote in favour of leaving the EEA, viz. the single market, as this was not a question on the ballot paper. It is the aim of this blogpost to identify the three main hurdles the claimants are likely to be facing and discuss whether these can be overcome.

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Shared powers: the elephant in the room in the division of powers-debate

The saga surrounding the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has again brought the issue of the division of foreign affairs powers between the EU and its Member States to the centre of attention of many an EU lawyer. How far do the EU’s exclusive powers to conduct a ‘common commercial policy’ reach? Do implied powers supplement the EU’s express exclusive powers in this area? Is it appropriate to apply a so-called ‘centre of gravity’ test when assessing the vires of a particular EU action on the international scene, or should a piecemeal approach be followed, whereby the inclusion of a single provision that reaches beyond the scope of the EU’s exclusive powers requires a proposed international agreement to be adopted as a ‘mixed’ agreement?

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Blowin’ against the Wind: the Future of EU trade Policy

U.S. President-elect Trump has announced his intention to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. In the EU too the wind seems to be blowing in a similar direction. There appears to be a widespread and growing anti-free-trade sentiment in some parts of the population. Should the EU, at this moment in time, continue to pursue a free trade agenda? If so, does the EU have the means to do that effectively?

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European vetocracy? How to overcome the Wallonian CETA problem

Democracy is not the issue here. Rather, the CETA/Wallonia issue is a vivid demonstration of overfederalization that leaves not only Belgium but the entire European Union unable to act. As an ultima ratio, one option remains: Why not simply close the agreement without Belgium?

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Ganz Gallien? Fehlschlüsse aus dem wallonischen CETA-Veto

Wallonien lässt die westliche Welt zappeln – und wird dafür je nach politischem Standpunkt des Betrachters als einzig aufrechtes gallisches Dorf besungen oder als eigennützige Erpresserbande geschmäht. Stutzig macht jedoch die prompte Reaktion, man hätte CETA besser doch nicht als „gemischtes Abkommen“ einstufen sollen, sondern als Abkommen zwischen der EU und Kanada ohne direkte Beteiligung der Mitgliedstaaten. Diese Reaktion zeugt von Demokratieverachtung.

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Wallonien, CETA und die Tyrannei der Minderheit

Demokratie ist für die Vorgänge in Wallonien nicht das richtige Stichwort. Zu besichtigen ist eine Überföderalisierung mit der Folge einer Handlungsblockade nicht nur Belgiens, sondern der gesamten Europäischen Union. Doch als Ultima Ratio bleibt eine Option: Warum nicht das Abkommen einfach ohne Belgien abschließen?

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The TTIP Negotiations Innovations: On Legal Reasons for Cheer

After 36 months of talks, the developments in the EU’s proposals for TTIP are far from perfect or complete. However, they demonstrate a huge faith in the EU’s power to institutionally nudge global trade – and render it more legitimate and accountable, as a good global governance actor should. They arguably do provide important reasons for cheer about the evolution of global trade through law.

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TTIP-Rechtsschutz zu Ende denken

Die EU-Kommission hat für ihren jüngsten Vorschlag zu TTIP viel Lob erfahren. Eine grundsätzliche Frage lässt der Vorschlag allerdings weiterhin offen: Warum sollen nur ausländische Investoren, nicht aber einheimische Unternehmen, Verbraucher und Arbeitnehmer, die jeweils zu ihren Gunsten vereinbarten Schutzstandards einklagen können? Ist die einseitige Klagemöglichkeit nicht ein ungerechtfertigter Vorteil ausländischer Investoren gegenüber anderen von TTIP betroffenen Personen und Gruppen?

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