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Towards a gender-sensitive EU external trade policy

Gender equality is one of the central priorities of the EU’s external policies and actions. According to the Gender Action Plan III, 85% of the EU’s external relations actions ought to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2025. This ambition aligns with the more recently formulated “Feministische Außenpolitik” of German foreign policy minister Annalena Baerbock. The increasing attention to material gender equality and gender-sensitive trade policy – as opposed to merely formal “gender-neutral” trade policy – is a welcome development. As the end of the term of the EU’s Gender Action Plan is nearing, it is especially pertinent to scrutinise the EU’s efforts in fulfilling these goals. Three recent free trade agreements (FTAs) between the European Union, on the one hand, and New Zealand, Canada, and Chile, respectively, on the other hand, contain specific provisions on gender equality and gender sensitivity. At the same time, the EU can and should do more to realise its gender equality ambitions in free trade agreements. The relevance of gender…

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The EU General Court’s Judgment in WS & Others v Frontex: What Could International Law on the Responsibility of International Organizations Offer in Grasping Frontex’ Responsibility?

Setting the scene: the facts and the ruling On 6 September 2023, the General Court as the first instance jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down the very first ruling which concerned the non-contractual liability of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) for damages caused to individuals by…

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Questioning the EU Anti-Coercion Instrument – Conflating the Curtailment of ‘Strategic Autonomy’ with the Erosion of Sovereignty?

On 3 October 2023 the European Parliament voted to pass the EU Anti-Coercion Instrument (ACI), billed as the ‘shield protecting EU’s sovereignty,’ by an overwhelming majority of 578 votes in favour, and only 24 votes against and 19 abstentions. Given the political agreement…

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A future ‘EU Space Law’: A few Constitutional Considerations

A new and potentially extensive ‘EU Space Law’ is – according to the new EU Space Strategy on Defence and Security (the ‘Space Strategy’) released in March 2023 – currently under consideration by the European Commission and High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (‘High Representative’). The communication amounts to a…

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Sovereign White Knights: Defensive State-Capitalism as a Gate Keeper of (EU) Economic Security?

Geopolitical considerations have been creeping into corporate and international economic laws. Faced with rapidly increasing inbound foreign direct investment by corporations from competing economies, many countries have either strengthened existing, or developed new, investment screening mechanisms. These mechanisms enable host country governments to decide whether to admit foreign investment, and if so, whether conditions should be…

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