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Abstract

This article examines how the substantive changes brought by the Lisbon Treaty with regard to the scope and nature of Community competence and to decision-making rules in the field of the Common Commercial Policy fulfil the need for balancing internal and external action and stand up to the requirements of international economic regulation. It is argued that the Lisbon Treaty, building upon the premises of the current regime, constitutes a benchmark in the evolution of the Common Commercial Policy. The expansion of the scope of the Common Commercial Policy to trade in services, commercial aspects of intellectual property and, most importantly, foreign direct investment indicates that a common policy in the fields of goods, services, establishment and capital with regard to third countries is necessary in order to serve the goals of internal integration and to increase the competitiveness of Europe in the world. Furthermore, by “merging” the different aspects of the Common Commercial Policy and simplifying the provisions concerning the exercise of EU competence, the Lisbon Treaty ensures its effective application. However, the “merger” of the different aspects of the Common Commercial Policy does not affect the balance of powers that exists in the internal market with regard to the same areas of law. The only derogations from parallelism between internal and external powers concern the exclusive nature of EU competence and the role of the European Parliament. However, these are both necessary for preserving the effectiveness of Union policy and introducing legitimacy in the most important field of EU external relations.