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Brunel Law School Research Seminar - Dr Isabella Mancini

LEGAL GAPS IN DEMOCRATIC SCRUTINY: THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EU TRADE AGREEMENTS

This article maps and evaluates the mechanisms available to the European Parliament and civil society to meaningfully scrutinise the work of the joint committees responsible for the implementation of EU trade agreements. While much has been written on the role of the European Parliament and civil society at the negotiation stage, the literature has overlooked the avenues for democratic scrutiny once a trade agreement is concluded. As evidenced by the EU-UK TCA, post-Lisbon EU trade agreements establish a plethora of executive committees that can take decisions on a wide range of matters, with repercussions on the EU legal order.

The article sheds light on major shortcomings in the mechanisms envisaged in the EU’s Treaties and trade agreements to scrutinise the decision-making processes at the implementation stage. It argues that there is a mismatch between a wider remit of the powers delegated to executive treaty bodies, and legal gaps precluding meaningful democratic checks. It shows that the European Parliament is marginalised, both at the bilateral and EU level; and that the new bodies for the involvement of civil society remain ancillary, unable to hold decision-makers into account despite their advisory role. Against this backdrop, the article calls into question the ongoing trend whereby the European Parliament is being deprived of the possibility to exercise its institutional prerogatives at new levels of trade law-making, vis-a-vis the creation of bodies for civil society that appears to be substituting it under the banner of enhanced democratic legitimacy. Presenter profile

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