The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today ruled on the division of competences in the bilateral trade agreement between the EU and Singapore. Most of the competences, such as transport, sustainable development and intellectual property rights, which have caused year-long disputes between the EU and its Member States, have been attributed to the European level. “We finally have a clear view and can see the way forward”, said Daniel Caspary MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman on trade.
The ruling will have an effect on all future trade deals the EU aims to conclude, including the post-Brexit agreement the United Kingdom is striving to achieve. "Today's decision has clarified the approval procedures for future trade agreements. We now need separate agreements for all the policies which fall under EU competence and all those under the responsibility of the Member States. This would strengthen our ability to act and make it easier for our citizens to distinguish between the responsibilities and competences of the political levels", Caspary explained.
The negotiations between the EU and Singapore were completed in December 2012. In September 2013, the treaty text was initialled and translated into all official EU languages. The European Commission now has to ensure that already-negotiated agreements, such as with Singapore and Vietnam, can enter into force without any delay and in accordance with the requirements set out by the ECJ. At the same time, together with Parliament and Council, the Commission must guarantee that negotiation mandates for future trade negotiations are divided clearly.