EU-Singapore trade ruling: Time to increase the EU’s ability to play a strong role in global trade
Today, the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement has to be considered as a so-called mixed agreement (that can only be concluded by the EU and the Member States acting jointly) but strengthened at the same time exclusive EU competences over wide areas of the agreement. According to today’s ruling, two aspects of the agreement do not fall within the EU’s exclusive competence, namely the field of non-direct foreign investment and the dispute settlement between investors and Sates.
Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE group in the European Parliament, said today:
“This long awaited ruling ends a period of uncertainty. I welcome the Court's decision to confirm exclusive EU competence over a wide range of areas, while narrowing down the areas of shared competence.”
“The EU has the full competence and legitimacy to negotiate, conclude and ratify modern, value based trade agreements covering important areas such as sustainable development, IPR and anti-competitive activities. Such agreements can swiftly enter into force after ratification by the European Parliament.”
“For the limited areas of shared competence defined by the court, we should in the future envisage separate agreements, concluded jointly by the EU and Member States and ratified by national parliaments. Such a separation would enhance the ability of the EU to conclude trade deals.”
“At the same time, Member States have a duty to involve their parliaments and citizens, and keep them informed throughout the negotiation process, so that their decisions in the Council are backed by the public.”
MEP Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, ALDE Shadow on the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, added:
“We have always been in favour of trade agreements and of free and fair trade. Trade is as an essential tool to growth. In fact, I firmly believe that Europe cannot grow with more public debts like in the past but by openly trading with the world.”
“With Singapore, I believe that enough time has already been lost. Singapore is a dynamic economy in which thousands of European companies already operate without any problems, it is a gateway for trade to Asia. Europe also needs the capital and funds Singapore is ready to invest in Europe. The free trade agreement with Singapore should not be slowed down any longer, it is a win-win situation for both sides. As a Catalan and European I hope that the Singapore agreement will be in place soon, as it will enhance our export potential."