Mihaela-Augustina DUMITRAȘCU, Oana-Mihaela SALOMIA, European Union as International Actor: Specificity of its External Competences

Abstract:The European Union represents a special subject of international law, which acts at the international level upon the rules of the international intergovernmental organizations.
At internal level, as it is stated by the Declaration no. 17 concerning primacy, attached to the Lisbon Treaty, “the Treaties and the law adopted by the Union on the basis of the Treaties have primacy over the law of Member States” in accordance with the integration method used for adopting the European law by the supranational institutions. The Member States have accepted to transfer some of the competences/parts of the national sovereignty to this organization in order to maintain the peace, the well being of their peoples and the sustainable development of Europe.
It is obvious that the values, objectives, principles and structure of the Union are built in a specific manner, but in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter and leading “to the strict observance and the development of international law”. 
The specificity of the European Union, as international actor, could be identified in relationship with:
- the third countries and other international organizations; in this regard the accessing conditions to the Union, the legal procedure for negotiating and concluding the international agreements by the European Union and the existence of human rights clause in the international agreements for trade represent key elements of the Union feature, and 
- the Member States; the euro area, the European citizenship, the four fundamental liberties and the direct applicability of certain provisions of the European law could be included among the particularities of this subject of international law. 
In the actual international and national context, in accordance with the principle of sincere cooperation or loyalty mentioned by the art. 4 of the Treaty on the European Union, it is necessary that “the European Union and the Member States shall, in full mutual respect, assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from the Treaties”, accomplishing the international tasks and identifying, together with the international society, the correspondent solutions to the national and international challenges. 

Keywords: national sovereignty, special subject of international law, specificity of the European Union, external competences of the Union, trade agreements, “human rights” clause, cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid, European neighbourhood policy (ENP), Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), legal basis of EU external actions.

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