Proving Its Worth? Parliamentarisation of EU Trade Policy and Its Effects

Friday, July 14, 2017
JWS - Stevenson Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Guri Rosén , University of Oslo - ARENA Centre for European Studies
The EU is the world's largest trading bloc and its external trade policy is an important foreign policy instrument. However, ever since the Lisbon Treaty gave the European Parliament (EP) new powers in the field of trade, the member states cannot determine the direction of trade policy on their own. This paper’s objective is to investigate what kind of impact the EP has made on trade policy since it gained its new prerogatives. The first aim is to identify if and how the EP has changed the EU’s global role, by investigating its influence on international agreements and trade legislation since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. In the current context of emerging economic powers and the financial crisis, has the EP made demands for a new "Festung Europa" or continued its advocacy for multilateral arrangements? Secondly, the EP’s new role in trade can be seen as the most important move towards parliamentarisation in the area of EU external relations, which used to be free from parliamentary involvement at the EU-level. After the Lisbon Treaty, most of EU trade policy is exclusive competence, which largely sidelines national parliaments in the process of concluding international agreements. Consequently, the EP’s new trade powers also give it a greater responsibility in looking after the interests of the 500 million citizens it is supposed to represent. Consequently, the goal of this paper is also to assess whether the EP’s new role in trade has also made it a more democratic policy area.