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date: 22 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the foreign relations law of the European Union concerning the making of treaties and other international agreements. It first outlines the sources of EU law on treaty-making and the legal and constitutional context in which EU treaty-making takes place. It then turns to the law relating to the process of treaty negotiation and to the signature, provisional application, and conclusion of treaties, identifying the ways in which the specific legal characteristics of the European Union as a treaty maker are reflected in its foreign relations law. These include the principle of conferred powers, whereby all treaty-making power must be conferred expressly or impliedly by the EU Treaties, and the institutional balance of powers. For the European Union, treaty-making is not a manifestation of sovereignty and cannot be regarded as simply a matter of executive discretion; the policy balance of a projected treaty and its relation to the European Union’s general objectives may be subject to judicial assessment. The member states remain sovereign subjects of international law and, as a matter of EU law, the European Union’s external powers do not necessarily displace those of the member states. As a result, the European Union and member states will often enter into treaties together, although there are no formal rules in the EU system, apart from the general mutual duties of cooperation, governing the negotiation and conclusion of such “mixed agreements.”

Keywords: European Union, EU treaty-making, negotiation of treaties, institutional balance, principle of conferral, mixed agreements, European Court of Justice

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