The EU has been very active in the many ICBs that specialise in agricultural commodities. This is explained by its interest in pursuing the objectives of its common agricultural policy as well as those of its trade policy. In this exercise it has been fortunate not to confront any legal impediments from the statutes of the ICBs, nor from the rest of their membership, to its ambition to be a full member. This ambition of the Union is justified by its conferred powers to act on the international plane in the areas covered by the work of ICBs. However, contrary to the situation in all other ICBs examined here, where the Union is a member, this is not the case in the OIV. This is the result of past practices and political preferences of EU Member States, as well as at times technical considerations pertaining to the content of the work in the OIV. Thus, the EU is prevented from exercising its powers independently in that international institution where, as regards its participation and representation, pre-Lisbon arrangements have survived.
Esa Paasivirta and Thomas Ramopoulos
The United Nations is both a possibility and a constraint for the EU. Multilateralism is a key value in the EU’s external action and the UN offers a platform to promote key EU interests in global diplomacy. The changes in the external representation architecture of the EU that were brought about by the Treaty of Lisbon necessitated a review of the EU’s participation in the UN. However, such review can only take place to the extent that it does not conflict with the rules that apply to the international institutions in question. The UNGA, the UNSC and the HRC therefore present three important case studies from the UN system where the Union adjusted its participation in accordance with its own rules and those of each organ, managing to have a consequential role and an impact on the work of these organs.