The EC in the WTO: The Three-Level Game of Decision-Making. What Multilateralism Can Learn from Regionalism
European Integration online Papers (EIoP), Vol. 8, No. 14, 2004
43 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2004
This paper is a comparative institutional analysis of the EC's decision-making process in trade policy by focusing on three variables, i.e., competence (whether national or EC competence in EC trade policy), control (who controls the EC's position in international trade negotiations: the Commission or the EU Member States?) and efficiency versus accountability (technocratic versus democratic trade policy) at the national and supranational levels. The empirical background is the World Trade Organization, to which the EC and its Member States are members and, more precisely, the Doha Development Agenda, where the position of the EC is analyzed. The EC institutions and their interaction with EU Member States' institutions and trade policy is the core of this paper. The problems that the enlarged EU will face in its internal decision-making process (such as transparency, efficiency, accountability) can be paralleled to the WTO's decision-making process, and thus the European experience can be used as a role or guidance in the WTO forum so that we can learn from the EC's benefits and, more importantly, avoid the mistakes of the European experience in the decision-making process of international trade fora. The paper concludes that EC trade policy, as well as WTO rules and policies, need to change to become more efficient and accountable at the same time as they address the issue of lack of transparency and legitimacy of the current system of governance, denounced by the Laeken European Council. Thus, more leadership is needed.
Keywords: Competences, international agreements, transparency, international trade, common commercial policy, trade policy, accountability, institutions, European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Ministers, WTO, political science, law
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