Jean Monnet Seminar
Re-thinking the European Constitution
in an Enlarged European Union
The Common Commercial Policy after Lisbon:
Establishing parallelism between internal and external economic policy?
Angelos Dimopoulos, LL.M. (Cantab), M.L.E. (Hannover)
Ph.D. Candidate (European University Institute)
Disclaimer: This contribution is only a fist draft.
The Common Commercial Policy has been one of the most important and dynamic fields of EU external relations. Since its inception in 1957, the scope of the Common Commercial Policy has been significantly changed in order to adapt to the new realities of international trade and economic relations. During the 1990s the Common Commercial Policy was the subject of significant amendments. In Amsterdam and in Nice the scope of the Common Commercial Policy was expanded and a complex and ambiguous system of rules was created. In order to strengthen coherence in the formation and application of the Common Commercial Policy and to clarify the current complex system created after Nice, the Constitutional Treaty and subsequently the Lisbon Treaty introduced new provisions on the Common Commercial Policy under the general framework of EU external action. The evolutionary character of the Common Commercial Policy reveals that EC external trade and economic relations have undergone major changes in order to adapt to internal and international challenges. The demands of globalization and the trend towards liberalization of international economic regulation, as they were mainly expressed by the formation of the WTO, required an expansion of EC trade policy towards other fields of economic activity. This trend was also supported by the completion of the internal market, which requires the formation of a common external economic policy beyond trade in goods. The Treaties of Amsterdam and Nice present the first steps towards building a coherent external trade and economic policy. The Lisbon Treaty attempts to fill the gaps left and to simplify the rules on the Common Commercial Policy. This paper aims at examining how the substantive changes brought by the Lisbon Treaty with regard to the scope and the nature of Community competence and to the procedural rules determining its formation fulfill the need for balancing internal and external action and stand up to the requirements of international economic regulation. Firstly, an overview of the evolution of the Common Commercial Policy until Lisbon is provided, highlighting the key changes brought in each phase of its evolution. After a brief summary of the most important developments in the field, the paper examines the currently existing rules, elaborating on the complicated character of EC competence, its (non)-exclusive character and the rules on decision making, emphasizing on the problems arising by the complexity of the Treaty rules. Afterwards, the main changes brought by the Lisbon Treaty are discussed, highlighting their implications for the scope and nature of Union competence and for decision making rules.
2. The Evolution of the Common Commercial Policy until Lisbon
a) The Common Commercial Policy until Opinion 1/94
Alongside association agreements, the Common Commercial Policy was the only field where external Community action was explicitly recognized in the original EC Treaty (TEC). The drafters of the Treaty of Rome had recognized that the Community should be granted powers in the field of external trade in goods, so as to satisfy the need for external representation of the European Community (EC) as a customs union. The creation of a common, uniform tariff for all products originating in third countries and the administration of tariff policy at a centralized level was a...