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Interinstitutional Gravity and Pirates of the Parliament on Stranger Tides: the Continued Constitutional Significance of the Choice of Legal Basis in Post-Lisbon External Action

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 April 2016

Abstract

Choice of legal basis in EU external action – Conclusion of international agreements – Application of the centre of gravity test – Delimitation of the Common Commercial Policy, the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Development Cooperation Policy – Institutional balance

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Copyright © The Authors 2016 

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Footnotes

*

Geert De Baere is Legal Secretary at the Court of Justice of the EU and Associate Professor of EU Law and International Law at the Institute for European Law and the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven. All views expressed herein are strictly personal and none can be ascribed to the Court of Justice of the EU. Tina Van den Sanden is PhD Candidate and Research Assistant at the Institute for European Law, University of Leuven. Many thanks to Professor Tim Corthaut, Professor Kathleen Gutman, Dr. Frederik Naert, the anonymous reviewer and the editors for their helpful remarks. The usual disclaimer applies.

References

1 See e.g. Wouters, J. et al., The Organisation and Functioning of the European External Action Service: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities (European Parliament 2013)Google Scholar.

2 Under Art. 19(1), first subpara. TEU, the institution of the Court of Justice of the EU encompasses the Court of Justice, the General Court and specialised courts (at present, the EU Civil Service Tribunal). This article refers to the Court of Justice as the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’ or ‘the Court’) in the sense of the highest court of this institution.

3 ECJ 18 December 2014, Opinion 2/13, Accession to the ECHR, para. 163, referring to ECJ 23 April 1986, 294/83, Les Verts v Parliament, para. 23.

4 Arts. 4(1) and 5(1)-(2) TEU.

5 Arts. 13 to 19 TEU. See Opinion 2/13, paras. 164-165.

6 Cf. Sharpston, E. and De Baere, G., ‘The Court of Justice as a Constitutional Adjudicator’, in A. Arnull et al. (eds.), A Constitutional Order of States? Essays in EU Law in Honour of Alan Dashwood (Hart 2011) p. 123-150Google Scholar.

7 ECJ 24 June 2014, Case C-658/11, Parliament v Council.

8 ECJ 11 June 2014, Case C-377/12, Commission v Council.

9 ECJ 18 July 2013, Case C-414/11, Daiichi Sankyo.

10 ECJ 22 October 2013, Case C-137/12, Commission v Council.

11 E.g. ECJ 30 November 2009, Opinion 1/08, GATS Schedules, para 110.

12 E.g. Opinion of AG Poiares Maduro of 27 September 2007, C-133/06, Parliament v Council, point 32.

13 Cf. Opinion of AG Bot of 30 January 2014, C-658/11, Parliament v Council, points 2-5.

14 Cremona, M., ‘Balancing Union and Member State Interests: Opinion 1/2008, Choice of Legal Base and the Common Commercial Policy under the Treaty of Lisbon’, 35 ELR (2010) p. 678Google Scholar at p. 688-91.

15 Cf. Opinion of AG Kokott of 28 October 2015, C-263/14, Parliament v Council, point 4.

16 Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing of the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of the Philippines, of the other part (COM(2010) 460 final).

17 See in general Guilfoyle, D., ‘Piracy Off Somalia: UN Security Council Resolution 1816 and IMO Regional Counter-Piracy Efforts’, 57 ICLQ (2008) p. 690-699CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Geiss, R. and Petrig, A., Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea: The Legal Framework for Counter-Piracy Operations in Somalia and the Gulf of Aden (OUP 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Koutrakos, P. and Skordas, A. (eds.), The Law and Practice of Piracy at Sea: European and International Perspectives (Hart 2014)Google Scholar.

18 Extended to 12 December 2016 by Council Decision 2014/827/CFSP of 21 November 2014 amending Joint Action 2008/851/CFSP on a European Union military operation to contribute to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast (2014 OJ L335/19).

19 Council Decision 2011/640/CFSP of 12 July 2011 on the signing and conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Mauritius on the conditions of transfer of suspected pirates and associated seized property from the European Union-led naval force to the Republic of Mauritius and on the conditions of suspected pirates after transfer (2011 OJ L254/1).

20 ECJ 15 November 1994, Opinion 1/94, WTO Agreement.

21 Council Decision 2011/853/EU of 29 November 2011 on the signing, on behalf of the Union, of the European Convention on the legal protection of services based on, or consisting of, conditional access (2011 OJ L336/1).

22 As most recently recalled in ECJ 10 September 2015, Case C-363/14, Parliament v Council, para. 41.

23 ECJ 11 June 2014, Case C-377/12, Commission v Council, para. 34, and ECJ 24 June 2014, Case C-658/11, Parliament v Council, para. 43 referring to ECJ 19 July 2012, Case C-130/10, Parliament v Council, paras. 42-45. Case C-658/11 only refers to Case C-130/10, paras. 42-44, and omits the phrase on procedurally incompatible legal bases.

24 ECJ 3 December 1996, Case C-268/94, Portugal v Council.

25 Council Decision 94/578/EC of 18 July 1994 concerning the conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of India on Partnership and Development (1994 OJ L223/23).

26 C-268/94, para. 39.

27 C-377/12, paras. 38-39, recalling C-268/94, paras. 37-39.

28 Maresceau, M., ‘Bilateral agreements concluded by the European Community’, Académie de Droit International – Recueil des Cours (2004) p. 127Google Scholar at p. 156-157.

29 ECJ 4 October 1979, Opinion 1/78, International Agreement on Natural Rubber, para. 56.

30 C-377/12, para. 35.

31 Similarly, on ECJ 20 May 2008, Case C-91/05, Commission v Council (‘Small Arms Light Weapons’ or ‘SALW’): Van Vooren, B., ‘The Small Arms Judgment in an Age of Constitutional Turmoil’, 14 EFAR (2009) p. 231Google Scholar at p. 235-236.

32 See further Tanghe, Y., ‘The EU’s External Competence in IP matters: the Contribution of the Daiichi Sankyo Case to Cloudy Constitutional Concepts, Blurred Borders and the Corresponding Court Jurisdiction’, 22 CJEL (2015)Google Scholar; Van Damme, I., ‘Case C-414/11 Daiichi: The Impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the Competence of the European Union over the TRIPS Agreement’, 4 CJICL (2015) p. 73-87CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

33 C-658/11, paras. 44-46.

34 Opinion in C-658/11, point 40.

35 Ibid., point 20.

36 C-658/11, para. 50.

37 Cf. infra.

38 See Broberg, M. and Holdgaard, R., ‘Demarcating the Union’s Development Cooperation Policy after Lisbon: Commission v Council (Philippines PCFA)’, 52 CMLRev (2015) p. 547Google Scholar at p. 560-561.

39 C-91/05, para. 67.

40 Cf. Opinion in C-658/11, point 126.

41 E.g. Cremona, M., ‘A reticent court? Policy objectives and the Court of Justice’, in M. Cremona, A. Thies (eds.), The European Court of Justice and External Relations Law (Hart 2014) p. 15Google Scholar at p. 19.

42 C-377/12, paras. 37 and 47.

43 Ibid., para. 36.

44 C-377/12, para. 41.

45 Joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on European Union Development Policy: ‘The European Consensus’ (2006 OJ C46/1).

46 C-377/12, para. 42 and Opinion of AG Mengozzi of 23 January 2014, C-377/12, Commission v Council, points 40-41.

47 See United Nations Millennium Declaration (UN Doc A/RES/55/2), sections III and IV and 2005 World Summit Outcome (UN Doc A/RES/60/1), para. 17. The Millennium Development Goals (‘MDGs’) expired in 2015 and have been succeeded by the Sustainable Development Goals (‘SDGs’): Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN Doc. A/RES/70/1), the first one of which is: ‘End poverty in all its forms everywhere’.

48 European Consensus, points 11-12.

49 Regulation 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation (‘Development Cooperation Instrument I’) (2006 OJ L378/41); replaced by Regulation (EU) No 233/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation for the period 2014-2020 (‘Development Cooperation Instrument II’) (2014 OJ L77/44).

50 Cremona, supra n. 41, p. 19; Broberg and Holdgaard, supra n. 38, p. 562-563.

51 ECJ 23 October 2007, Case C-403/05, Parliament v Commission, para. 57.

52 C-91/05, paras. 66, 69, 90-91.

53 Eeckhout, P., EU external relations law (OUP 2011) p. 138CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

54 Opinion in C-377/12, point 43.

55 Broberg and Holdgaard, supra n. 38, p. 563.

56 Regulation (EC) No 1717/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing the Instrument for Stability (2006 OJ L 327/1) [2006] OJ L 327/1. See De Baere, G., Constitutional Principles of EU External Relations (OUP 2008) p. 293-294CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

57 Regulation (EU) No 230/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing an instrument contributing to stability and peace (2014 OJ L 77/1).

58 Ex Arts. 179(1) and 181a TEC and Arts. 209 and 212 TFEU, respectively.

59 Cf. Schütze, R., ‘EU Development Policy: Constitutional and legislative foundations’, CYELS (2013) p. 699Google Scholar at p. 707. Contrast with the much more limited interpretation of the scope of economic and social cohesion policy in ECJ 3 September 2009, Case C-166/07, Parliament v Council, on which see Corthaut, T., ‘Case C-166/07, European Parliament v Council of the European Union, Judgment of the Court of Justice ([Fourth] Chamber) of 3 September 2009, [2009] ECR I-7135’, 48 CMLRev (2011) p. 1271Google Scholar at p. 1282-1283.

60 Broberg and Holdgaard, supra n. 38, p. 562.

61 Cf. Opinion in C-377/12, point 29.

62 The fact that a provision in an agreement creates binding obligations does not suffice to justify the addition of a separate legal basis: ibid., point 55.

63 C-377/12, para. 56.

64 On the relationship between the CCP and the WTO/GATT: De Baere, G. and Van Damme, I., ‘Co-Adaptation in the International Legal Order: The EU and the WTO’, in J. Crawford, S. Nouwen (eds.), Select Proceedings of the European Society of International Law (Volume 3) (Hart Publishing 2012) p. 311-325Google Scholar.

65 Art. 28(1) TFEU.

66 Art. 3(2) TEU.

67 Gstöhl, S., ‘The European Union’s trade policy’, 11 Ritsumeikan International Affairs (2013) p. 1Google Scholar at p. 2.

68 Dimopoulos, A., ‘The effects of the Lisbon Treaty on the principles and objectives of the Common Commercial Policy’, 15 EFARev (2010) p. 153Google Scholar at p. 159-161; Gstöhl, supra n. 67, p. 1 at p. 8; Vedder, C., ‘Linkage of the Common Commercial Policy to the general objectives for the Union’s external action’, in M. Bungenberg, C. Herrmann (eds.), Common Commercial Policy after Lisbon. European Yearbook of International Economic law (2013) p. 115-144CrossRefGoogle Scholar at p. 118.

69 Dimopoulos, supra n. 68, p. 161-165; Vedder, supra n. 68, p. 137-143.

70 ECJ 11 November 1975, Opinion 1/75, OECD Local Cost Standard.

71 Supra n. 29.

72 Supra n. 20.

73 De Baere, G. and Koutrakos, P., ‘The interactions between the legislature and the judiciary in EU external relations’, in P. Syrpis (ed.), The Judiciary, the Legislature and the EU Internal Market (Cambridge University Press 2012) p. 243CrossRefGoogle Scholar at p. 250.

74 See also Larik, J., ‘No mixed feelings: The post-Lisbon Common Commercial Policy in Daiichi Sankyo and Commission v Council (Conditional Access Convention)’, 52 CMLRev (2015) p. 779Google Scholar at p. 792.

75 e.g. ECJ 6 December 2001, Opinion 2/00, Cartagena Protocol, para. 40.

76 C-414/11, para. 52; C-137/12, para. 58.

77 C-137/12, paras. 58-65.

78 C-414/11, paras. 52-60.

79 See also Ankersmit, L., ‘The scope of the Common Commercial policy after Lisbon: the Daiichi Saknyo and Conditional Access Services Grand Chamber Judgments’, 41 LIEI (2014) p. 193Google Scholar at p. 206-207.

80 I.e. a shared competence without pre-emption: see De Baere, G., ‘EU external action’, in C. Barnard and S. Peers (eds.), European Union Law (Oxford University Press 2014) p. 704CrossRefGoogle Scholar at p. 722.

81 Art. 4(4) TFEU.

82 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (UN Doc. A/RES/42/187).

83 Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992), Annex I, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (UN Doc A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. I)), principles 4 and 7.

84 European Consensus, para. 5.

85 Art. 208(1) TFEU.

86 Art. 208(2) TFEU.

87 Cremona, M., ‘Coherence and EU external environmental policy’, in E. Morgera (ed.), The External Environmental Policy of the European Union: EU and International Law Perspectives (Cambridge University Press 2012) p. 36Google Scholar.

88 European Consensus, para. 77.

89 Opinion in C-377/12, points 48-49.

90 Cf. ibid., point 49.

91 Protocol (No 21) on the position of the UK and Ireland in respect of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (2012 OJ C326/295).

92 Protocol (No 22) on the Position of Denmark (2012 OJ C326/299).

93 European Consensus, paras. 12, 40 and 110.

94 Declaration of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (UN Doc. A/68/L.5); Report of the Secretary-General: International migration and development (UN Doc A/69/207).

95 Council Conclusions on Migration in EU Development Cooperation (Council Doc. 16901/14); Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on the 2013 UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development and on broadening the development-migration nexus (Council Doc. 12415/13).

96 Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Joint Declaration on the readmission of citizens (1997 OJ L334/15).

97 Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Cambodia, Joint Declaration on the readmission of citizens (1999 OJ L 269/18); Maresceau, supra n. 28, p. 178.

98 Opinion in C-377/12, point 77. See e.g. Council Decision 2014/252/EU of 14 April 2014 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation (2014 OJ L134/1).

99 Broberg and Holdgaard, supra n. 38, p. 564. On the comprehensive approach and on the EEAS-Commission relationship in development cooperation, see Wouters et al., supra n. 1, p. 28-29 and 49-50.

100 C-377/12, para. 29

101 Supra n. 95.

102 Maresceau, supra n. 28, p. 176-177.

103 Cf. supra.

104 See Art. 3(1) TFEU.

105 Opinion 1/75, 1362-1364. See De Baere, supra n. 56, p. 41-42.

106 Opinion 1/78, paras. 43-45.

107 Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 (2012 OJ L303/1).

108 Cremona, supra n. 41, p. 20.

109 Maresceau, supra n. 28, p. 177.

110 Art. 235 EEC (later Art. 308 TEC; now Art. 352 TFEU). See e.g. Council Decision 90/674/EEC of 19 November 1990 on the conclusion of the Agreement establishing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (1990 OJ L372/1).

111 Cf De Baere, supra n. 56, p. 30.

112 See e.g. Council Decision 2014/211/EU of 14 April 2014 on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, of the other part, with the exception of Article 49(3) thereof (2014 OJ L111/4). The agreement nevertheless contains an Art. 13 on ‘Trade cooperation’.

113 Cf regarding SALW: Van Vooren, supra n. 31, p. 244-247.

114 C-91/05, para. 76. Critically: Van Vooren, supra n. 31, p. 231 and 248.

115 C-91/05, para. 60.

116 Para. 66, referring to C-403/05, para. 57.

117 Council of the EU, EU Strategy to combat illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition (Council Doc. 5319/06 CFSP 31).

118 C-91/05, paras. 66-70.

119 Cf. Opinion in C-658/11, point 126.

120 De Baere, supra n. 56, p. 286.

121 C-91/05, paras. 71-72.

122 See also De Baere, G., ‘From “Don’t mention the Titanium Dioxide Judgment” to “I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right”. Reflections on the choice of legal basis in EU external relations after the Legal Basis for Restrictive Measures Judgment’, 15 CYELS (2013) p. 554Google Scholar.

123 Art. 21(3) TEU.

124 Opinion of AG Mengozzi of 19 September 2007, C-91/05, Commission v Council, point 189.

125 C-130/10.

126 Regulation 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban (2009 OJ L346/42).

127 C-130/10, paras. 55-58.

128 Opinion of AG Bot of 31 January 2012, C-130/10, Parliament v Council, points 62-63.

129 Ibid., point 64.

130 Van Vooren, supra n. 31, p. 245.

131 C-130/10, paras. 68 and 70.

132 See, eg, Emiliou, N., ‘Opening Pandora’s Box: The Legal Basis of Community Measures before the Court of Justice’, 19 ELR (1994) p. 488Google Scholar at p. 499.

133 Klamert, M., ‘Conflicts of legal basis: no legality and no basis but a bright future under the Lisbon Treaty?’, 35 ELR (2010) p. 497Google Scholar at p. 502 and 505; Cremona, supra n. 41, p. 21-23.

134 Opinion in C-658/11, points 86-87.

135 Ibid., point 88.

136 Compare Eeckhout, supra n. 53, p. 169, who advocates a nuanced approach.

137 Cf De Baere, supra n. 122, p. 557.

138 Matera, C., Wessel, R., ‘Context or content? A CFSP or AFSJ legal basis for EU international agreements’, 49 Revista de Derecho Comunitario Europeo (2014) p. 1047Google Scholar at p. 1057; Van Elsuwege, P., ‘Securing the institutional balance in the procedure for concluding international agreements: European Parliament v Council (Pirate Transfer Agreements with Mauritius)’, 52 CMLRev (2015) p. 1379Google Scholar at p. 1396.

139 E.g. Council Decision (EU) 2016/123 of 26 October 2015 on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part (2016 OJ L29/1), based on Arts. 31(1) and 37 TEU and Arts. 91, 100(2), 207, 209, 218(5) and 218(8), second subpara. TFEU.

140 Case C-263/14, an action for annulment brought by the Parliament of Council Decision 2014/198/CFSP of 10 March 2014 on the signing and conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the United Republic of Tanzania on the conditions of transfer of suspected pirates and associated seized property from the European Union-led naval force to the United Republic of Tanzania (2014 OJ L108/1). See Opinion in C-263/14, points 50-73.

141 Klamert, supra n. 133, p. 505-06.

142 C-268/94, para. 39; see Van Vooren, supra n. 31, p. 246.

143 Opinion in C-263/14, point 4.

144 ECJ 29 October 1980, Case No 138/79, Roquette Frères v Council.

145 Kuijper, P.J., ‘The case law of the Court of Justice of the EU and the allocation of external relations powers. Whither the traditional role of the executive in EU foreign relations?’, in M. Cremona, A. Thies (eds.), The European Court of Justice and external relations law (Hart 2014) p. 95Google Scholar at p. 95. Further: De Baere, supra n. 56, p. 159-200.

146 Cf. Hill, C., The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy (Palgrave 2003) p. 4Google Scholar, questioning the continuing validity of the traditional distinction between ‘high’ and ‘low’ politics.

147 Cf. Rule 112 of the Rules of Procedure of the EP (2015).

148 E.g. Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (2013 OJ C373/1).

149 De Baere, supra n. 56, p. 161-166.

150 Opinion in C-658/11, points 153-157.

151 Ibid., paras. 69-73.

152 Ibid., para. 67.

153 Further: De Baere, supra n. 56, p. 161-169.

154 C-658/11, paras. 80-86.

155 138/79, para. 33.

156 C-658/11, paras. 80-82.

157 Cf. Ott, A., ‘The legal bases for international agreements post-Lisbon; Of pirates and The Philippines’, 21 MJ (2014) p. 739Google Scholar at p. 751.

158 C-658/11, paras. 83-86.

159 Opinion in C-263/14, point 99.

160 Broberg and Holdgaard, supra n. 38, p. 566.

161 Opinion in C-377/12, point 37.

162 ECJ 4 September 2014, C-114/12, Commission v Council, paras. 65-67. See De Baere, supra n. 80, p. 714-718. See further Verellen, T., ‘The ERTA Doctrine in the Post-Lisbon Era: Note under Judgment in Commission v Council (C-114/12) and Opinion 1/13’, 21 CJEL (2015), p. 383-410Google Scholar.

163 Opinion in C-133/06, point 32.

164 E.g. Kuijper, supra n. 145, p. 95-114.

165 Opinion 2/13, paras. 249-257.

166 The Court also noted in Opinion 2/13, para. 251 that it had ‘not yet had the opportunity to define the extent to which its jurisdiction is limited in CFSP matters as a result of’ Art. 24(1) TEU and Art. 275 TFEU. It may now have that opportunity in Case C-72/15, Rosneft, pending, in which the High Court of Justice (England and Wales), Queen’s Bench Division (Divisional Court) (United Kingdom) has referred questions for a preliminary ruling inter alia on whether the Court of Justice has ‘jurisdiction to give a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU on the validity’ of a CFSP measure.

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