The European Commission and the EU member states as actors in the WTO negotiating process
Since the end of the Uruguay Round, the role of the European Commission as negotiator on behalf of the European Union (EU) in multilateral trade negotiations has increasingly come under attack. Questions have been asked about the exact powers of the Commission and about the way in which it has wielded these. Related to these questions, concerns have been raised – especially among the EU’s external negotiating partners (see Barchefsky 2001) – on the authoritative nature of the deals the Commission agrees to and about its authority and accountability inside the EU (see Paemen and Bensch 1995: 95). Indeed, the question of authority, accountability and relative powers remains a daunting one when it concerns the EU’s conduct of external trade negotiations.