Implications of the lisbon treaty

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Background Brief No 2 March 2010

Implications of the Lisbon Treaty on EU External Trade Policy
Executive Summary Background Brief Main provisions of Lisbon Treaty Changes in Common Commercial Policy Increased role for European Parliament 5 8 9

This background paper examines the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty (which entered

into force in December 2009) tothe European Union Common Commercial Policy (CCP) and the likely implications for the EU’s trading partners. It begins with an overview of the major changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty on the EU’s external action and then elaborates more on the specific changes in the area of CCP. The paper further puts forward some possible implications that these changes may have for EU’s external traderelations with third countries.

EU Trade Policy System of Competence 12 Implications of changes in CCP for EU trading partners 13


Ms Anne Pollet-Fort Associate Fellow, EU Centre

Arturs Alksnis Research Associate, EU Centre

The EU Centre is a partnership of:

Dr Yeo Lay Hwee Director, EU Centre in Singapore

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The EU trade policy has now to be seen as an integral part of overall EU external action and its relations with third countries One of the main objectives of the Lisbon Treaty is to increase the coherence and the efficiency of the European Union’s external action. The Lisbon Treaty brings the current external Communitypolicies together in a more comprehensive manner. All elements of the EU’s external action - from the Common Foreign and Security Policy to trade policy for example - are from now on submitted to the same principles and objectives. These include inter alia human rights, good governance, environmental protection and sustainable development. This implies that the EU in formulating its trade policynot only considers the economic liberalization agenda, but has to take into account other objectives. The Treaty may therefore provide a basis for the use of conditionality in trade policy, and lead to the “politicization” of trade policy, something that may not be welcomed by EU’s trading partners. How the current Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht interacts with Catherine Ashton, the newlyappointed High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy whose task is to ensure the consistency of the EU’s external action, could also be an issue of interest but may not necessarily have a huge impact on the overall conduct of trade relations with third countries.

The Lisbon Treaty that was signed and ratified by all EU member states (MS) came into force on 1 December 2009. TheTreaty is intended to make the EU more efficient, more democratic internally and more coherent on the world stage. It introduces a number of changes to the institutional structure and functioning which would also have an impact on EU policies. The EU now has a single legal personality, which enables the EU as a whole to negotiate and sign in its name international treaties and agreements. Toenhance the visibility of the EU and streamline the external representation of the EU, two new positions have been created: the Permanent President of the European Council and a High Representative for the Union’s Foreign and Security Affairs. Their work will be supported by a new agency, the European External Action Service. Of particular relevance to the EU trading partners such as Singapore arechanges aimed at making the EU trade policy more comprehensive and more democratic. More generally, the Lisbon Treaty also seeks to achieve greater consistency between the different elements of the EU’s external action. The Lisbon Treaty introduces three main changes to its external trade policy or what is usually Common Commercial Policy (CCP) in EU terminology:

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