The legality of ‘sleepwalking’ in negotiations? The missing coherence in EU trade talks with Ukraine

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Series Details Vol.42, No.1, February 2017, p27-45
Publication Date February 2017
ISSN 0307-5400
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Trade talks underpinning the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement soured relations with Russia and contributed to a conflict inconsonant with EU goals of stability and prosperity in its neighbourhood. While the Lisbon Treaty seeks to ensure coherent EU external policy-making, events in the Ukraine suggest a European Commission trade strategy poorly attuned to regional security needs.

This raises questions as to the nature and justiciability of treaty obligations on trade negotiators and whether they were respected in the case of Ukraine. This article traces the substantive and procedural constraints on negotiators post-Lisbon.

It finds that while they have considerable scope to determine and balance EU interests, the Court may scrutinise the 'manifest appropriateness' of their actions. It identifies aspects of the Commission’s current approach, most notably an ideological blind spot to the detrimental impacts of bilateral deals, that strain EU coherence norms.

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Sweet and Maxwell: European Law Review

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