The EU’s legal framework and the limits of its external environmental regulatory influence
The European Union (EU) has become a major player in global environmental governance. The multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and the integration of environmental standards in the EU’s commercial policy are complementary means that should allow the EU to play a role as a key player in international environmental governance. The main consequence of the shared nature of competences of the EU in environmental matters is that the MEAs are, from the perspective of EU law, mixed agreements, reached jointly by the Member States and by the EU with third countries, whilst at a legal level, nothing in reality obliges them to be mixed. The common commercial policy, which is one of the oldest policies of the EU and also the main exclusive external competence of the EU, is playing a growing role in the panoply of the EU’s external environmental governance instruments.