Opinion 2/15: Sustainable Is the New Trade. Rethinking Coherence for the New Common Commercial Policy

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction: objectives v. policies, a new balance for coherence. – II. General v. policy-linked objectives: into the logics of constructive interpretation. – III. The new policy stretch: “effects” and “special link” reloaded. – IV. Objectives v. competences: material coherence without substance.

Abstract: Opinion 2/15 (Court of Justice, opinion of 16 May 2017) is a clear illustration of the new balance to be struck between the general objectives of EU external action, EU policies and the underlying powers at stake. Taking ground on the “fair trade” and “sustainable development” objectives in the new treaties, the Court continues its classically broad interpretation of the scope of the common commercial policy. Is there anything new under the sun? Arguably, Opinion 2/15 might announce the emergence of a recurrent issue in the law of EU external action: where does the use of general objectives end, and where does mixity start? This question first calls for an analysis of the new balance to be found between the external action objectives and the Union’s policies. Second, particular attention will be paid to the constructive interpretation of general and policy-specific objectives guiding EU external action. Third, this leads to the examination of the effect these newly interpreted principles may have on the concrete appreciation of the scope of the common commercial policy. Fourth, the article aims at raising a number of interrogations deriving from opinion 2/15 as a potential precedent for both EU and MS jurisdictions.
Keywords: EU External Action – Common Commercial Policy – coherence – objectives – sustainable development – exclusive competences.

European Papers, Vol. 2, 2017, No 3, pp. 819-828
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/177

* Lavoisier Fellow of the French MoFA; Ph.D. of the European University Institute; Assistant Professor at the Sorbonne Law School, Paris 1 University, charlotte.beaucillon@univ-paris1.fr.


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