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Ashton authorized to negotiate with 5 countries for the transfer of pirates

(photo credit: Council of the EU – TV)

 (BRUSSELS2) The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and the Common Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, will be officially authorized by the 27, within the framework of the EUNAVFOR Atalanta operation, to open negotiations with 5 countries (Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda) in order to facilitate the transfer of suspects of piracy acts and their trial. The diplomats are putting the final touches to this mandate which should then be adopted, as point A (without debate), in the Council of Ministers (barring last minute difficulties). The procedure for adopting such an agreement follows a now more codified procedure, responding to Articles 37 of the Treaty on European Union and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

Adoption of legal personality unique status of the Union, due to the Treaty of Lisbon, does not, in fact, have the consequence of giving the EU the legal capacity to enter into international agreements. She already had this ability, and she's used it before, many times. Witness the SOFA/SOMA agreements signed for operations or missions in Chad (1), Georgia (2), Somalia, etc. or the pirate transfer agreements signed with Kenya (3) or the Seychelles (4). Above all, it has the consequence that from now on the agreements concluded by the High Representative of the EU on delegation from the Council obey the common law procedure, with certain adaptations.

The stages of negotiation

  • 1th step: “The Council authorizes the opening of negotiations, adopts the negotiating directives, authorizes the signature and concludes the agreements. »
  • 2nd step: "The Commission, or the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy where the envisaged agreement relates exclusively or mainly to the common foreign and security policy, shall present recommendations to the Council, which adopts a decision authorizing the opening of negotiations and designating, depending on the subject matter of the envisaged agreement, the negotiator or the head of the Union negotiating team. » 
  • 3nd step: “The Council may issue directives to the negotiator and appoint a special committee, the negotiations to be conducted in consultation with this committee. » 
  • 4nd step: “The Council, on a proposal from the negotiator, adopts a decision authorizing the signature of the agreement and, where appropriate, its provisional application before entry into force.”
  • 5th step: The Council, on a proposal from the negotiator, adopts a decision concluding the agreement. »

NB: " A Member State, the European Parliament, the Council or the Commission may obtain the opinion of the Court of Justice on the compatibility of a envisaged agreement with the treaties. In the event of a negative opinion from the Court, the envisaged agreement cannot enter into force, unless it is modified or the treaties are revised. »

Le European Parliament has no possibility, in terms of common foreign and security policy, of approving the agreement. But he is " immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Read also:

(1) The agreement SOFA with the Chad and Cameroon sets the rules for Eufor ...
(2) Umm Georgia deploys 250 observers and recruits more ...
(3) (exclusive) Agreement with the Kenya for the transfer of pirates ...
(4) The two chords (Sofa, pirates) with Seychelles approved


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).