Member state involvement in the area of EU exclusive competence: the case of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
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Free and open trade is crucial for the European Union. Currently, the EU is the world’s largest trading bloc managing trade and investment relations with non-EU countries. The common commercial policy is the area of EU exclusive Competence. The Commission is responsible for legislation on trade matters, and for concluding international trade agreements. Despite this member states are not entirely excluded from trade negotiations. This thesis looks at negotiation process of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) signed in 2016, with parts of it coming into force already in 2017. Using theoretical framework of liberal intergovernmentalism and principal-agent framework this thesis seeks to answer how, and to what extent, the large member states of the EU influence the negotiations of an international trade agreement. CETA case proves that large member states can influence the area of EU exclusive competence. Member states have been involved in certain stages of the negotiation process. Moreover, the level of influence depends on the domestic situation, governments’ stances and national interests.
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