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Parliamentary questions
18 June 2015
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission

1. The relevant procedures for provisional application are set down by the Treaty. Article 218(5) TFEU stipulates that the Council, on a proposal by the negotiator (i.e. the Commission, in the case of trade agreements), adopts a decision authorising the signing of the agreement and, if necessary, its provisional application before entry into force.

2. With respect to TTIP, this issue is premature as the negotiations are still ongoing. All of the existing EU FTAs provide for provisional application and for the Parties to fix the scope of provisional application. It is not uncommon for international trade and investment agreements to be applied provisionally for some time pending their ratification. Within the EU context, if they are ‘mixed agreements’, they are signed and ratified by the EU and by all EU Member States in accordance with their respective internal procedures. The ratification process may take several years due to the time required by EU Member States to complete their own processes.

3. In general terms the provisional application will terminate in one of the following circumstances: (a) when the Union and, in case of a ‘mixed agreement’, the Member States conclude the agreement in accordance with Article 218(6) TFEU such that it enters into force or (b) when the Union takes a decision not to conclude the agreement and notifies this decision to the other Party. Overall it cannot be said at this moment in time, and will ultimately be a decision for the Council, whether the agreement will be provisionally applied and what will be the scope of provisional application.

Last updated: 25 June 2015Legal notice