EU Trade Law
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EU Trade Law

Rafael Leal-Arcas

This comprehensive book provides a thorough analytical overview of the European Union’s existing law and policy in the field of international trade. Considering the history and context of the law’s evolution, it offers an adept examination of its common commercial policy competence through the years, starting with the Treaty of Rome up until the Treaty of Lisbon, as a background for understanding the EU’s present role in the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework.
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Chapter 11: Efficiency versus accountability

Rafael Leal-Arcas

Abstract

This chapter provides an analysis of the tension in the decision-making processes in EU commercial policy. It further provides an analysis of why the EU has been criticized for its commercial policy, for being unable to negotiate without internal agreement, and for being incapable of negotiating with one voice. The chapter focuses on the challenges in attaining a coherent and accountable EU trade policy. EU trade policy would be more coherent if more power were to be given to the European Commission. Thus, the main tension in the EU trade policy decision-making process (efficiency versus accountability) will be analysed. The chapter shows that being more transparent and more internally accountable implies less efficiency in decision-making. It focuses on the difficulties of having unanimity in the EU Council in an enlarged EU of over 30 Member States; thus, the need to have qualified majority vote in the EU Council to avoid a Europaralysis in EU trade policy-making for services trade and the commercial aspects of intellectual property rights.

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