The doctrine of implied powers

Piet Eeckhout

in EU External Relations Law

Second edition

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606634
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729560 | DOI:

Series: Oxford European Union Law Library

The doctrine of implied powers

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In the original EEC Treaty there were not many provisions which expressly referred to external action by the Community. There were provisions on the common commercial policy, which mentioned the conclusion of international agreements on commercial policy. Other references to external relations were confined to the last part of the Treaty, containing ‘General and Final Provisions’. None of those final provisions conferred any substantive powers — in the sense of defining certain policy areas — to act under international law. There was one, last provision which did confer a more broadly-defined external competence: Article 238 (now Article 217 TFEU) on association agreements, according to which the Community could conclude with one or more States or international organizations agreements establishing an association involving reciprocal rights and obligations, common action, and special procedures. The question then arose of whether the external powers of the EEC were confined to developing a common commercial policy, concluding association agreements, and establishing co-operation with international organizations, or whether the EEC could act externally and conclude international agreements in other areas too. Whether, in other words, the Treaty contained implied external powers. The case law of the Court of Justice on these implied powers is of great constitutional significance, and this chapter is devoted to its analysis.

Keywords: EU; external relations; external action; EEC Treaty; case law; Court of Justice; external powers; implied powers

Chapter.  24905 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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