|European University Institute (EUI)
|LAW Working Papers
|No 02, 2017
|Journal | Series | Blog
The common commercial policy (CCP) has often been hailed as the most supranational, and the most successful, of the EU’s external policies, through which it demonstrates real weight and influence in the world. This success has been attributed in part to the CCP’s decision-making processes which were held up as a model of the ‘Community method’, as well as to the fact that the CCP has been accepted as an exclusive competence since the early 1970s; its description as a ‘common’ policy is witness to a substantial degree of integration.
It is in the provisions on the CCP that the Union’s external policy underwent some of the most significant changes as a result of the Lisbon Treaty. Seven years after the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, we can assess those changes and whether they do in fact represent, or have facilitated, a revolution in EU trade policy-making. In these seven years some, but certainly not all, of the uncertainties over the revised Treaty provisions on the CCP have been resolved and new questions have emerged.
We cannot yet look back from 2017 to 2009 and see a true revolution in trade policy. But the Lisbon Treaty put in place mechanisms which could progressively lead to a ‘quiet revolution’ – a trade policy that looks very different from the paradigm of the last 40 years. Whether this happens, and indeed what such a trade policy might look like, will depend on the choices made by the Commission over the next few years, but also on the ways in which the Parliament rises to the challenge to exercise a strategic influence, and the degree and nature of public engagement in the policy choices to be made.
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