Controversies on Article

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Since the establishment of the European Union (hereinafter ‘EU’) with the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, the accession to it, had been perceived as the cornerstone for a state into a new national economic and political development. The crucial premise of the EU is the incorporation of the EU legal order in its entirety into the state national legal system over which the EU has precedence, in other words, limiting its sovereignty in favour of firming up the integration in the EU. Nonetheless this constitute a complicated issue, usually of a great importance, evolve at the accession of a state to the EU.

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This regards the relationship of a member state with third countries, in term of binding nature of existing agreements. Membership to the EU, does not in itself, an imposing stature, to force a recently joined member state to act, in breach of pre-accession international agreements, against a third countries, nor let the parties to the agreements to operate on the basis of this rule forever leading to a disparate interloping, endangering the basic essence of the EU, that is the Supremacy of EU Law. The following paragraph will investigate the role and effects of Article 351 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (hereinafter ‘TFEU’). This article has been purposely implemented with the aim to deal with these dichotomies, that is ‘to make it clear, in accordance with the principle of international law, that application of the EC treaty does not affect the duty of the Member State concerned to respect the rights of third countries under a prior agreement and to perform its obligation thereunder.’[1] This paper will examine the controversies of the Article 351 TFEU, elaborating on the conclusion date of the international agreements, the effect of future amendments to international agreements, the potential collisions, and above all, the supremacy of EU law. The prohibition of international agreements established between Member States, situations whereby third countries are favoured in the interpretation of the provisions, competences of national courts and the Court of Justice of the EU (hereinafter ‘CJEU’) in interpreting international agreements. As a final point, analysing paragraph 3 of Article 351 of the TFEU, concerning obligation to renegotiate or terminate international agreements.

2. Scrutinising of Article 351 TFEU

Article 351 TFEU[2] : The rights and obligations arising from agreements concluded before 1 January 1958 or, for acceding States, before the date of their accession, between one or more Member States on the one hand, and one or more third countries on the other, shall not be affected by the provisions of the Treaties. To the extent that such agreements are not compatible with the Treaties, the Member State or States concerned shall take all appropriate steps to eliminate the incompatibilities established.

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