Elgar Commentaries series
Edited by Irini A. Stamatoudi and Paul Torremans
Chapter 19: THE EU STANCE IN INTERNATIONAL MATTERS
So far as matters upon which the European Union (EU) has legislated are concerned, the Commission claims competence to represent the views of the Member States in international fora. Thus, in the light of the acquis communautaire in the field of copyright and related rights established by the nine Directives adopted to date on various aspects of these rights, the EU has for some years played an active role in multilateral external relations on the subject of copyright and related rights. The acquis communautaire in this context embraces the general principles of the EU Treaties and legislation, including the Directives on copyright and related rights, as interpreted by the Court of Justice. In intergovernmental meetings, the spokesman for the Union is normally a representative of the Commission, speaking on behalf of the Union and its Member States. Sometimes, the spokesman is the head of the delegation of the Member State which at the time occupies the rotating Presidency of the Union. The EU first took a leading role in the negotiations which led to the adoption of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPs Agreement) in 1994 but subsequently has claimed competence to represent the Member States of the Union in inter-governmental meetings on copyright and related rights convened by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
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