The Non-Ratification Scenario: Legal and Practical Responses to Mixed Treaty Rejection by Member States

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The near-death of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) painfully illustrated that the conclusion mixed agreements, i.e. agreements that list the EU, its Member States and a third party as contractors, may be derailed by a negative vote of (sub-)national decision-makers. Such a non-ratification entails a problematic conundrum: Despite the requirement for national ratification under international law, a Member State violates the EU’s legal principles of conferral and loyal cooperation when vetoing a mixed treaty in its entirety. The present article argues that the Member States are not competent to reject the EU exclusive parts of a mixed treaty in their own right. It suggests that the EU’s and the Member States’ legal authority to ratify mixed agreements is contingent on who owns and who exercises treaty-making power for substantive components and outlines several practical ways to align national (non-)ratification with the EU’s law on competences and procedure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-40
JournalEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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