On 16May2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that the European Union has exclusive competence in the matter of its free trade agreement with Singapore, except for the two topics of non-direct foreign investment and investor state dispute settlement.
The article maps out why the Canadian free trade deal with the EU went to member nations for ratification. The article opines that the judgement enables a free trade agreement between UK and EU, or at least a slightly easier strategy thereof. But the article recognises that trade deals are seldom only legal; politics gets in the way, so overall, this judgement might end up being a technicality with no useful, political purpose.
However, that the investor state dispute settlement procedure (ISDSP) is held to be outside the competence of the European Union is an interesting decision by the Court. If I recall correctly, ISDSP was a cause célèbre for the European Parliament in the matter of TTIP, because Europe’s left-wing resented the prospect of governments being held to account for any vandalism they performed on private persons’ economic interests. Europe’s left-wing recognised that ISDSP would impede protectionism and nationalisations.