Will EU Member States Play Any Role at the WTO After the EU Reform Treaty?

Vienna Online Journal of International Constitutional Law, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 75-90, 2007

16 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2007

See all articles by Rafael Leal-Arcas

Rafael Leal-Arcas

Queen Mary University of London - School of Law


In this paper, I address the issue of European Union (EU) Member States' participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the EU Reform Treaty enters into force. In Giuliano Amato's view, no member of the EU is powerful enough to be taken seriously on its own in the international arena. Thus, in order to play an effective role in the world, the EU must join together. In this sense, coordinating its foreign trade policies and streamlining the process was one of Amato's major ambitions during the Convention on the future of Europe. If Amato's ambitions were to materialize, it would therefore be correct to interpret that EU Member States will no longer participate in the WTO forum because the EU Constitutional and Reform Treaties give exclusive competence to the EU in all areas of trade policy. However, how do we reconcile the fact that the EC and its Member States are currently members of the WTO, but after the EU Constitutional Treaty or its successor, the Reform Treaty, the EU will have exclusive competence in all trade matters? Aren't EU Member States sovereign states? Once the EU Reform Treaty is in force, how will the current polycephalous physiognomy of the EU in the WTO change? Will it make a difference? Will the EU become monocephalous in international trade negotiations, i.e., a sole trade actor? What will its implications be? Will EU Member States disappear from international trade fora? Is the EU becoming a federation of States when it comes to trade policy?

Keywords: WTO, EU Member States, Reform Treaty, federation

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Leal-Arcas, Rafael, Will EU Member States Play Any Role at the WTO After the EU Reform Treaty?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1067643

Rafael Leal-Arcas (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London - School of Law ( email )

Lincoln's Inn Fields
Holborn, London WC2A 3JB
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ccls.qmul.ac.uk/staff/lealarcas.html

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics