ECJ rules that EU members must ratify Singapore trade agreement

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that the EU does not have the executive power to conclude a free trade agreement with Singapore without the ratification of member states. There had been disagreements between the European Commission, the European Parliament and individual member states on the matter. The text of the free trade agreement was written in 2013. It contains bilateral agreements on customs duties and of non-tariff barriers as well as intellectual property protection.

The ECJ rules that the EU has a “shared competence” with member states with respect to some aspects of the agreement, and therefore will require the agreement to be ratified by each individual member state. The EU rulebook was modified following the Lisbon treaty in 2009 and this has led to confusion as to when the agreement of each member state has to be obtained.