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International agreements: EU adoption procedures

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International agreements: EU adoption procedures

SUMMARY OF:

Article 218 TFEU — EU adoption procedures for international agreements

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS ARTICLE DO?

  • Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) lays down the procedures and powers of the EU institutions regarding the negotiation and adoption of agreements between the EU and non-EU countries or international organisations.

KEY POINTS

The article sets out the respective powers of the Council, the European Commission or the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the European Union in the process.

In general, the Council has the power to open negotiations, adopt negotiating directives and sign and conclude agreements.

The Commission (or the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for common foreign and security policy matters) submits recommendations to the Council to open negotiations for an agreement.

The consent of the European Parliament is required before the Council can conclude certain types of agreements, including:

  • association agreements;
  • agreements on EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR);
  • agreements with important budgetary implications for the EU;
  • agreements establishing a specific institutional framework (e.g. when the agreements create a joint committee with decision-making powers);
  • agreements covering fields to which either the ordinary procedure or the special legislative procedure, where consent by the European Parliament is required, applies.

In all other types of agreements, the European Parliament is required to be consulted.

At the request of an EU country, the Council, the Commission or the Parliament, the Court of Justice may provide an opinion on whether an envisaged agreement is compatible with the EU treaties.

The Council may act on the basis of a qualified majority of its members except in areas where unanimity is normally required including, for example, for agreements regarding the accession of the EU to the ECHR.

FROM WHEN DOES THIS ARTICLE APPLY?

It has applied since 1 January 1958.

ACT

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union Part five — External action by the Union — Title V — International agreements Article 218 (ex Article 300 TEC)

last update 21.03.2016

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