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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): the EU’s transition from observer to full participant on an ad hoc basis

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The EU’s relationship with international organizations includes two elements. First, there are the internal arrangements: whether requisite powers are held, whether the European Commission has initiated a proposal, whether that proposal has been approved by the EU legislature, and so on. Second, there is the external acceptance of the EU’s role in such an international organization. The latter matters politically, diplomatically, and legally. UNESCO is not specifically mentioned in the EU Treaties as an international organization with which the EU should have relations. In such circumstances, the Commission has the discretion, in line with other guidance stemming from EU primary law, as to the ‘kind of liaisons’ the EU should have with such IOs. The EU Treaties, however, do specify that the EU ‘shall establish all appropriate forms of cooperation with the organs of the United Nations and its specialised agencies’, and ‘shall also maintain such relations as are appropriate with other international organisations’. It is difficult to discern the true meaning of Article 220 TFEU and what its scope should be. Just how widely should ‘all appropriate forms of cooperation’ be interpreted from both an internal EU perspective and an external perspective? Given that UNESCO is a specialized agency of the UN, the EU is under a legal obligation to seek some form of relationship with UNESCO, but to what ends?

This chapter addresses such questions. It first analyses UNESCO and its particular characteristics, including its legal framework, membership structure and functions. Second, it explores the EU’s relationship with UNESCO, tracing the historical development of legal relations between the two international organizations, before exploring the EU’s internal competence to be active within UNESCO. Third, the manner in which the EU acts externally within UNESCO comes into focus, particularly for the negotiation and adoption of UNESCO conventions, which demonstrates the limits of the EU’s ability to act as an international organization within another international organization. The fourth section discusses the EU’s status as a formal observer within UNESCO. It argues that such status is no longer sufficient for the EU’s competences, and that its status as a ‘full participant on an ad hoc basis’ caters for the EU’s abilities only in the short to medium term, with a more permanent solution needing to be found.
Titel Research handbook on the European Union and international organizations
RedaktørerRamses A. Wessel, Jed Odermatt
ForlagEdward Elgar Publishing
Udgivelsesårsep. 2019
ISBN (trykt)9781786438928
ISBN (Elektronisk)9781786438935
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2019
SerietitelResearch Handbooks in International Law

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