European Union Law
, with the creation of the European Commission Office for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) in 1992.
The institutional framework, legal instruments and procedures of the commercial, development and humanitarian aid policies are those of the TFEU in application of the Community method.
The EU has legal personality, which means the capacity to conclude international treaties with sovereign states and international organisations. The common set of rules for treaty-making by the EU, which derives from the former provisions on external agreements of the EC, applies to commercial, development and humanitarian policy, the external dimension of internal policies and the CFSP. Apart from trade agreements, there is a growing number of international treaties in the field of the environment, which has become a major source of EU law.
Where there is no exclusive competence of the Union, member states are involved in mixed agreements which have to be concluded both by the EU and by member states. This has happened with the so-called “new generation” of trade agreements such as the EU–Singapore or EU–Canada agreements. Member states may also conclude international agreements in the field of EU non-exclusive competences, provided that they comply with EU law.
Next to treaty-making power, another common feature of external action is the coordination of member states’ delegations in international organisations, such as the United Nations and its specialised agencies. Coordination is not always effective, be it only because they are not all members of the governmental organisations that...
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