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Why The Netherlands should ratify CETA

International law has been front-page news in The Netherlands for the past weeks as the Dutch Parliament is debating whether or not to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA). The so-called Second Chamber (Chamber of Representatives) approved such ratification in February 2020 and the issue will be put to a vote shortly in the First Chamber (Senate). It is not unthinkable that the Senate will disagree with the Chamber of Representatives, withhold its approval and thereby scupper the full entry into force of CETA for the entire EU. Exclusive vs. shared competence A brief recap: EU Member States have transferred the exclusive competence to negotiate and conclude trade agreements to the EU. Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, this exclusive competence also encompasses foreign direct investment. CETA is one of the first examples of the EU’s exercise of this newly acquired competence: it is primarily a trade and investment agreement, but it is also one of the first…

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How Europe’s Legal Equilibrium Unravelled

Two weeks on since the German Constitutional Court issued its momentous ruling on the ECB’s quantitative easing programme, commentators are still wondering what kind of bomb has been detonated by the German Court. Will the blast bring down the Euro along with the European Union? Or will a makeshift arrangement of some sort allow the EU to kick the can…

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Killing all birds with one stone: Is this the end of Intra-EU BITs (as we know them)

On 5 May 2020, 23 EU Member States, except for Austria, Ireland, Finland, and Sweden, signed the Agreement for the Termination of Bilateral Investment Treaties between the Member States of the European Union (the Agreement). Its adoption is the latest development in the debate on the incompatibility of bilateral investment treaties between Member States (Intra-EU BITs) with…

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Europe’s Double Standard for China’s Overfishing

A decade ago, in January of 2010, the EU implemented a bold new initiative to counter the growing problem of overfishing around the world. This EU initiative consisted of an indirect enforcement system against nations located outside of Europe, by controlling the access of those nations to import their fishery products into the European marketplace. While fully respecting…

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Export restrictions under scrutiny – the legal dimensions of export restrictions on personal protective equipment

 “A crisis without borders cannot be resolved by putting barriers between us. And yet, this is exactly the first reflex that many European countries had. This simply makes no sense. Because there is not one single Member State that can meet its own needs when it comes to vital medical supplies and equipment. Not one.”…

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