The Conclusion and Implementation of EU Free Trade Agreements
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The Conclusion and Implementation of EU Free Trade Agreements

Constitutional Challenges

Edited by Isabelle Bosse-Platière and Cécile Rapoport

This timely book gives an overview of the main legal issues the EU faces in negotiating, concluding and implementing so-called ‘New Generation’ free trade agreements. Featuring contributions by international specialists on EU external action, this book demonstrates why these FTAs have become challenging for the EU, as well as analysing how the EU has dealt with its institutional constraints, and addresses contemporary debates and future challenges for EU institutions and Member States.
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Chapter 4: Autonomy and EU competences in the context of free trade and investment agreements

Eleftheria Neframi and Mauro Gatti


In the first place, the chapter investigates the interaction between the delimitation of the EU’s external competence in the area of trade and investment and the requirement to preserve the essential characteristics of the EU legal order. It follows from the joint reading of Achmea and of Opinion 2/15 that the competence to approve dispute settlement provisions in free trade agreements (FTAs) finds its limits in the preservation of the systemic dimension of the autonomy. On the other hand, the specific balance between competences and objectives reinforces the substantive autonomy of the EU legal order through a dynamic interpretation of external competences. Secondly, the chapter focuses on the EU’s capacity to exercise independently its competences, which is challenged by the recent FTAs. Despite the insertion of clauses on the right to regulate, there is no guarantee of the interpretation of investment protection standards in view of the preservation of the regulatory autonomy of the Union.

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