The Role of the EP in Shaping the EU’s Trade Policy after the Entry into Force of the Treaty of Lisbon

09-07-2014

In the few years that have passed since the Treaty of Lisbon amplified the European Parliament’s authority, the institution has reshaped the EU’s trade policy – a domain that has become the exclusive competence of the EU. Parliament has not, as some feared it would, compromised the Union’s technical approach. Rather, it has given the EU’s Common Commercial Policy (CCP) democratic legitimacy and emphasised human rights and environmental concerns. While the Treaty of Lisbon made this change possible, it did not make it inevitable; Parliament has exercised creativity in interpreting its co-legislative powers and modelling a significant role for itself. As the fifth anniversary in December 2014 of the entry of the Treaty of Lisbon approaches, Parliament is further consolidating its powers of oversight and decision. The moment is ripe to survey the lessons of the past four-and-a-half years and to buttress the institution for the challenges to come.

In the few years that have passed since the Treaty of Lisbon amplified the European Parliament’s authority, the institution has reshaped the EU’s trade policy – a domain that has become the exclusive competence of the EU. Parliament has not, as some feared it would, compromised the Union’s technical approach. Rather, it has given the EU’s Common Commercial Policy (CCP) democratic legitimacy and emphasised human rights and environmental concerns. While the Treaty of Lisbon made this change possible, it did not make it inevitable; Parliament has exercised creativity in interpreting its co-legislative powers and modelling a significant role for itself. As the fifth anniversary in December 2014 of the entry of the Treaty of Lisbon approaches, Parliament is further consolidating its powers of oversight and decision. The moment is ripe to survey the lessons of the past four-and-a-half years and to buttress the institution for the challenges to come.