(CN) – The European Court of Justice said Tuesday that EU states can’t be excluded from negotiations on a free-trade agreement with Singapore, since parts of it fall under authority the EU shares with member states.
Acting on a request by the European Commission to clarify whether the EU has exclusive competence to sign a proposed free-trade agreement with Singapore, the Luxembourg-based high court said most of the agreement comes under the authority of the EU.
However, authority over two areas of the proposal – nondirect foreign investments made without the intention of influencing the management or control of a company, and the scheme by which disputes between investors and member states are resolved – belong to both the EU and its member states.
As such, and as currently written, the agreement with Singapore can only be concluded with member states at the negotiating table, the court said.
The court made it clear its opinion only relates to the questions posed by the commission and is not a determination on whether the agreement is compatible with EU law.
Its opinion was not available in English at press time.