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EU Competence to Conclude Trade Agreements: Opinion of Advocate General Sharpston in Opinion 2/15

Koutrakos, P. ORCID: 0000-0002-2346-4057 (2022). EU Competence to Conclude Trade Agreements: Opinion of Advocate General Sharpston in Opinion 2/15. In: Butler, G. S. & Lazowksi, A. (Eds.), Shaping EU Law the British Way UK Advocates General at the Court of Justice of the European Union. (pp. 509-518). Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing.


It was the European Court of Justice itself that laid the foundation for the law governing EU external relations in the early 1970s, in the seminal ERTA judgment. The long and complex case law that has ensued notwithstanding, significant questions about the Union’s competence to conclude trade agreements have remained subject to legal controversy. These are about the scope of the EU’s competence, the conditions under which this becomes exclusive, and the implications of the coexistence of the EU and the Member States on the international scene. Legal disputes about these issues keep arising despite the efforts of the drafters of the Treaty of Lisbon to codify and clarify the principles that govern the EU’s external action. In fact, it is nothing short of staggering that the EU should have become an important international trade actor on the basis of internal rules and procedures, the precise scope and implications of which have been shrouded in ambiguity and clarified gradually following inter-institutional litigation and requests for an Opinion by the Court of Justice in accordance with Article 218(11) TFEU. It is in the light of this context that Opinion 2/15 on the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Singapore (EUSFTA) has shed light on a number of aspects of the EU’s external competence, for which AG Sharpston offered her Opinion.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Copyright, 2022, Hart Publishing.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JX International law
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > Institute for the Study of European Laws
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