International agreements

Latvia signing the Accession Treaty (Photo: European Commission)

International agreements

The EU can negotiate and enter into international agreements with other states and international organisations.

The Lisbon Treaty has qualified majority voting as the normal decision-making method for international agreements - including for part of foreign policy, but here with a veto right.

The international agreements are entered into on the basis of Art. 207, 212 and 218 TFEU. 

There is unanimity for commercial aspects of intellectual property rights and services in social, health and education but only if they would be "seriously disturbing the national organisation of such services" - in the eyes of the Commission. Agreements will therefore normally be based on qualified majority votes in the Council.

The EU has gained legal personality and is therefore now competent to enter into many more international agreement instead of the member states. See Art. 47 TEU.

If the legislation on the content is ruled by majority vote for the internal rules there will also be majority votes for the international agreements. If an area is governed ny unanimity internally there will also be unanimity externally.



See also World Trade Organisation, Agreements with other countries and Foreign representative of the Union.