Written Answer to a Question: Implications of the CJEU decision on the mixed nature of the EU-Singapore Agreement

Written answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission to a question (Rule 130) by Emmanuel Maurel (S&D) regarding “Implications of the CJEU decision on the mixed nature of the EU-Singapore Agreement”.

Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission

The decision on provisionally applying trade agreements is taken by the Council, on a proposal by the Commission. In practice, the provisional application of trade agreements is limited to matters falling within the exclusive competence of the EU. Even if the power to decide on provisional application lies exclusively with the Council, the Commissioner responsible for Trade has declared in writing to the Committee on International Trade (INTA) her intention to ask the Council to delay the provisional application of important trade agreements until the European Parliament has given its consent. In recent years, several important trade agreements were provisionally applied only after the European Parliament had given its consent.

The Court opinion on the Singapore ruling has not addressed the issue of provisional application and hence does not have an impact on future practice. In the context of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the Council declared that, when a Member State notifies the European Union about its definitive decision not to ratify the agreement, the provisional application should be terminated. Since in practice provisional application is limited to matters falling within the exclusive competence of the European Union, the necessary measures for terminating the provisional application would have to be adopted in accordance with EU procedures.

The Commission is still analysing the content and impact of the Court’s Opinion on the Free Trade Agreement with Singapore; more time is needed to consult with the European Parliament and the Council.


Question for written answer P-003760/2017
to the Commission
Rule 130
Emmanuel Maurel (S&D)

Subject: Implications of the CJEU decision on the mixed nature of the EU-Singapore Agreement

The CJEU decision of 13 May 2017 on the EU-Singapore Agreement makes it clear that this agreement and all other EU trade deals of this type are mixed agreements. As such, they cannot be concluded by the EU alone, but only by the EU and Member States acting together.
This clarification regarding the allocation of competences was necessary and it could open up the possibility of dividing agreements into chapters which fall within the area of the EU’s exclusive competence and chapters which fall within the area of shared competence. The implications of this decision require further consideration, therefore.

1. In the light of the Court’s decision, does the Commission plan to alter its controversial practice of provisionally applying trade agreements which have been ratified by the European Parliament before they have been approved by the national parliaments?

2. How will the Commission now respond if a provisional agreement is rejected by a national parliament?

3. Does the Commission intend to suggest that future agreements be split in two?

Click to view the question and answer on the European Parliament’s website

Source: European Parliament

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