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18, 2014

Supra-national Nature of the European Union Association Agreements

Theoretical and practical issues of the creation of associations between the European Union and third countries are elucidated. Association with the EU can be considered as the first step towards the integration of a state into the EU. The impact of the EU acquis and the supra-national bodies of association on the internal orders of the associated countries is under consideration. The means and consequences of such impacts are determined.
Keywords: European Union, supra-nationality, harmonization of legislation, acquis, Association Agreement with Ukraine

Introduction. It is well­known that the practice of making treaties has become one of the main forms of the European Unions (EUs) cooperation with third countries and international organizations. The Eastern Partnership Policy proclaimed by the European Union in 2008 foresaw a substantial upgrading of the level of its political engagement with Eastern partners. This includes the prospect of a new generation of association agreements and their far­reaching integration into the EU economy such as easier travel to the EU for citizens providing that security requirements are met, enhanced energy security arrangements benefitting all concerned, and increased financial assistance [4]. By means of concluding such agreements, the EU is going to form an area of stability and economic, political and legal cooperation around it [10]. Association with the EU has become one of the most powerful legal instruments for establishing this relevant area. The agreements concerned, to a large extent, reflect the legal policy of the EU. The supra­national nature of the European Union is transferred to treaties and the institutional mechanisms of associations.

Therefore, by studying the effects which EU law has on the nature and content of international agreements of the European Union, the legal prerequisites for expansion of the acquis communautaire beyond the EU are created. It is a topical problem for the contemporary science of international and European law, since its resolution may have practical implications. However, since there have actually been no publications analyzing these issues, the author of this article is going to try to fill the existing gap.

Association agreements as a legal instrument for incorporation of the EU acquis into the legal orders of third countries. The impact of EU primary and secondary legislation (the founding treaties and acts of EU institutions) on a third countries legal orders is mostly achieved through the conclusion of international agreements whose provisions reproduce the prescriptions laid down in the treaties establishing the European Union and the acts adopted by the EU institutions. However, by no means can all international agreements concluded between the European Union and third countries ensure such penetration of EU law provisions into the internal legal orders of non­member countries. The most typical kinds of international agreements capable of serving as a basis for provisions of EU law to penetrate into the internal legal orders of third countries are association agreements, partnership agreements, and also agreements on trade and cooperation. These may also include acts adopted by organs of association or cooperation namely, resolutions or conventions constituting part of the institutional mechanism of such agreements.

There are several main routes through the conclusion of international agreements for EU primary and secondary law to penetrate into a third countries legal orders: the incorporation of provisions of EU law into international agreements or acts of cooperation bodies, set up within the framework of such agreements and references by international agreements, or by cooperation bodies acts to provisions of EU primary and secondary law.

In this regard, association agreements may appear to be different from partnership and cooperation agreements in that the former, firstly, appear to reproduce a somewhat greater number of provisions of EU primary and secondary law and, secondly, the association or cooperation bodies created on the basis of their provisions, are empowered to adopt binding acts containing provisions of the primary law of the European Union and references to secondary legislation acts of the EU.

This approach is clearly observed through trade agreements which the EU has concluded with European countries. In particular, articles 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the Agreement concluded in 1972 between the EEC and Switzerland as regards the establishment of a free trade area (with the amendments of 2001) [6] actually reproduce the provisions of the present Article 30 of the Lisbon Treaty on Functioning of the European Union (the EU Treaty) prohibiting the contracting parties from imposing new customs duties on imports and exports and charges having equivalent effect, as well as customs duties of a fiscal nature [4]. Furthermore, Article 13 of the same Agreement is in fact a reflection of the provisions of Article 34 of the EU Treaty prohibiting the imposition between Member States quantitative restrictions on imports and all measures having an equivalent effect.

Article 20 of the mentioned Agreement entirely reproduces the provisions of Article 36 of the EU Treaty referring to some exceptional grounds allowing Member States to resort to non­fiscal prohibitions or restrictions on imports and exports.

It should be noted that, according to EU law, articles 30, 34 and 36 have been recognized by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) as having a direct effect [11; 12]. But, this does not necessarily mean that they may have the same status in the internal legal order of Switzerland.

Article 23 of the Agreement partly reflects provisions of Article 101 of the EU Treaty which is applied to rules of competition (prohibiting, in view of incompatibility with the area of free trade, the agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition in the sphere of production and trade in goods), Article 102 which prohibits any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or in a substantial part of it, and Article 107 which prohibits any aid granted through state resources distorting or threatening to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods.

On the other hand, Article 29 of the Agreement empowers a Joint Committee, set up on the basis of this document, to adopt decisions binding upon the Parties with the aim of implementing its provisions.

Similar provisions were also reproduced in the 1973 Agreement on a free trade area between the EEC and Norway [1].

The Agreement on the European Economic Area (the EEA Agreement) which reflects a great number of provisions of EU primary and secondary law is of special note. This Agreement was signed in May 1992 [2]. Its Parties are the EU, its Member States, and some of the most developed EFTA Member States such as Norway, Island, and Lichtenstein.

This Agreement is somewhat unique in the treaty­making practice of the European Union, since, essentially, it entirely reproduces provisions of the EU Treaty governing cooperation in the economic sphere. Moreover, annexes and protocols to the Agreement contain references to provisions of various acts of EU institutions and, thus, along with provisions of the EEA Agreement, they fix the vast majority of norms that make up the EU acquis [Muraviov, 2007: 3840]. Such a structure of the Agreement is explained by the fact that while deciding whether it was necessary to include the relevant provisions of acquis into its text, its drafters found that, considering the scale of such work, it would actually be possible to identify and fully incorporate these provisions into the future agreement. For that reason, the drafters decided that it would be better to use the legislative technique of putting references to the respective provisions of acquis into annexes and protocols to the EEA Agreement [11; OKeeffe, 1992: 520].

In this connection, the EEA Agreement can be called as a global agreement on association, as it grants to the associated countries a status which is essentially a substitute to their membership in the European Union, not providing therewith for any participation of these countries in the activities of EU institutions or their cooperation in matters of foreign and internal policy.

Such a far­reaching character of the EEA Agreement is first of all evidenced by its very structure. The EEA Agreement comprises a Preamble and nine parts laying down objectives and principles for the main four freedoms of the common market (free movement of goods, persons, capital, and services), covering the related spheres (rules on competition, social policy, consumer rights protection, environmental protection, statistics, entrepreneurial activity), cooperation outside the scope of the four freedoms, activities of cooperation institutions, etc.

As mentioned in Article 1(1) of this document, the aim of this Agreement of association is to promote a continuous and balanced strengthening of trade and economic relations between the Contracting Parties with equal conditions of competition, and respect of the same rules, with the view of creating a homogeneous European Economic Area.

In other words, the goal of this instrument is to create a market encompassing the territory of the European Union and that of the associated countries, with common rules regulating the relations between undertakings of all Parties to the Agreement. It answers the question on what kind of rules can be found in provisions of the EEA Agreement.

Since the main preconditions for the functioning of a common market are freedom of movement of goods, persons, capital, and services, the EEA Agreement extends to the associated countries the applicability, first of all, of those provisions of the EU Treaty which are connected with the maintenance of these freedoms. However, control at the borders remains in force. Freedom of movement of goods is, in particular, ensured by including into the EEA Agreement the provisions (articles 10, 11, 12) which are essentially identical to those contained in articles 30, 34, 35 of the EU Treaty (to lay down prohibitions against customs duties, quantitative restrictions on imports and exports, and also any other measures having equivalent effect). Article 36 of the EU Treaty is fully reproduced in Article 13 of the EEA Agreement as regards exceptions from such prohibitions. Likewise, the reflection of articles 110 and 111 of the EU Treaty, which prohibit any discrimination in terms of internal taxation, can be found in articles 14 and 15 of the EEA Agreement. Similar to EU regulations are also the EEA Agreement provisions on state monopoly of a commercial character (Article 16).

Free movement of workers, freedom of establishment or the right to pursue economic activities are regulated on the basis of articles 45 and 49 of the EU Treaty which are reproduced in relevant provisions of the EEA Agreement (Article 28 and Annex 5; articles 31­35 and annexes 8 and 11 to the Agreement). The EEA Agreement also envisages measures concerning the mutual recognition of diplomas (formal qualifications) (Article 30 and Annex 7).

Almost all prescriptions of articles 56­62 of the EU Treaty in regard to freedom to provide services are reproduced in the EEA Agreement as well (articles 36­39 and annexes 9­11 to the Agreement).

Finally, the EEA Agreement excludes any restrictions between the Parties on the movement of capital, even though these provisions only partly reproduce the respective rules of EU law on this matter (articles 63­66 of the EU Treaty), since they keep intact some restrictions on certain direct investments and investments in real estate (articles 40­45 and Annex 12 to the Agreement).

Apart from the rules of the four freedoms, the EEA Agreement also includes the EU law rules relating to transport (articles 47­52 and Annex 11 to the Agreement), social policy (articles 66­71 and Annex 18 to the Agreement), consumer protection (Article 72 and Annex 19 to the Agreement), company law (Article 77 and Annex 22 to the Agreement), statistics (Article 76, Annex 21 and Protocol 30 to the Agreement), protection of the environment (articles 73­75 and Annex 22 to the Agreement), protection of intellectual property rights (Article 65, Annex 17 and Protocol 27 to the Agreement), procurement (Article 65, Annex 17 and Annex 16 to the Agreement), rules on competition (articles 57, 59), etc.

The procedure for examining violations of rules on competition involves the distribution of powers between the EU Commission and the EEA Supervisory Body depending on the category of cases and the trade turnover of those participating in market relations within the free trade area created in accordance with the EEA Agreement (Article 56).

In addition to the EU Treaty provisions that govern common market relations, the EEA Agreement reproduces some other rules of EU law aiming to create preconditions for the normal functioning of the whole legal mechanism of the Parties cooperation. In particular, Article 3 of the Agreement mirrors Article 4.3 of the EU Treaty obliging the Member States to ensure the fulfillment of obligations under the Agreement and to abstain from any measures which could jeopardize attainment of the objectives of this Agreement (the so­called provisions on cooperation).

For the purpose of ensuring that the associated countries uniformly apply the EU law provisions making up the EU acquis, Article 6 of the EEA Agreement stipulates that the Agreement provisions reflecting the essentially identical prescriptions of the EU Treaty or acts of the EU institutions should be interpreted in accordance with the ECJ judgments which had been delivered before the entry into force of the EEA Agreement without prejudice to the future practice of the ECJ.

The same purpose is pursued by Article 107 of the EEA Agreement, which refers to the possibility for judicial authorities of the associated countries to ask, under a prejudicial procedure, the ECJ to decide on the interpretation of the EEA rules corresponding to the rules of EU primary and secondary law. This also suggests that the competence of the ECJ extends to relations arising outside the EU.

Apart from EU law rules that had been in force before the signature of the EEA Agreement, the associated countries may be subject to provisions of future acts adopted by the EU institutions in the form of regulations and directives. This is provided for in Article 7 of the EEA Agreement which stipulates that the EU institutions acts referred to or contained in the annexes to the Agreement should become a part of the associated countries internal legal orders. If mentioned acts are regulations, they have direct effects within the associated countries legal orders; and if these instruments are directives, they are binding in respect to the result to be achieved, with the choice of the way for their implementation being left to the authorities of these countries.

Thus, the conclusion of the EEA Agreement created legal frameworks for extending by establishing a free trade area within the EEA the EU­led European economic integration to the associated countries. This was the first step towards building up an internal market comprising the internal market of the EU and markets of the associated states. Being included into the EEA Agreement, EU law rules regulating economic relations within the common market have become an integral part of the internal legal order of each associated country. This practically envisages that the effect of the rules regulating the main freedoms of the internal market has been extended to the associated countries with the prospect of applying common rules to regulate economic relations within the European Economic Area. Legal frameworks for functioning of the free trade area within the EEA are created not only by direct inclusion of EU law rules into the EEA Agreement but also by references to the sets of rules to be applicable to a certain sector of the EU internal market and by introduction of the association bodies acts that contain provisions of the EU certain regulations or directives or refer to such acts (while the latter are keeping those special legal characteristics that they have in EU law) into the legal orders of the associated countries. As a result of this process, the acquis is deemed to be the basis of regulation of relations within the framework of cooperation with the EU. Such a far­reaching application of EU law rules to regulate relations within the EEA do not give rise to problems in the associated countries, since sometimes the level of their economic and legal development is not only lower but in many aspects higher than the respective levels of most EU Member States.

A similar approach for extending the scope of EU law rules to associated countries has been applied within the European Union associations with the Balkan states. The Stabilization and Association Agreement with Macedonia includes provisions (articles 17, 18, 19, 20) which are essentially identical to those contained in articles 30, 34, 35 of the EU Treaty. The relevant provisions lay down prohibitions against customs duties, quantitative restrictions on imports and exports, and also any other measures having an equivalent effect. Article 69 of the Agreement partly reflects the provisions of Article 101 of the EU Treaty which is applied to the rules of competition [13]. However, such agreements do not contain any references to provisions of EU legislation on economic relations in certain sectors of the internal market. Furthermore, acts adopted by the association bodies do not envisage incorporation of the EU institutions acts into the internal legal orders of the associated countries by way of transposition of or references to EU law rules therein.

In our view, such a relatively rare occurrence of references to EU law rules in stabilization and association agreements or acts of association bodies may be explained by the fact that European integration was extended within the European Union to the associated countries of the Balkan region while taking into consideration the transitional character of their economies. National economies of these associated countries needed to be gradually adapted to new legal regulation mechanisms of the European Union. Therefore, the amount of the EU acquis accepted by these countries in order for them to be able to create preconditions for their accession to the EU was considerably less than that for the EEA States.

Association agreements between the EU and Mediterranean countries, which are not candidates for EU membership because of being situated outside Europe, also envisage the gradual formation of a free trade area. These instruments imply that such territories adjacent to the European Union are to become an area of economic stability contributing to the stable development of integration processes in the European Union.

A common approach to regulating relations within the associations with Mediterranean countries is to include EU law rules or references to provisions of the EU secondary legislation into the association agreements.

The Agreement on Association between the EU and Tunis, concluded on 30 March 1998 [7], reproduces or contains references to the EU Treaty provisions and to the EU institutions certain acts regulating the conditions for common market competition, for State aid measures (Article 36.2), freedom to provide services (Article 36.2), measures relating to a common agricultural policy (Article 36.5), etc.

The Interim Association Agreement between the EU and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation concluded on 16 July 1997 [9] states that the parties are obliged to be guided by provisions of the EU Treaty and the EU institutions acts relating to measures of the common agricultural policy of the EC (Article 30.6).

Article 8 of the Association Agreement between the EU and Israel on 23 June 2006 [8] actually reproduces provisions of Article 30 of the EU Treaty which prohibit contracting parties from imposing new customs duties on imports and exports and charges having equivalent effect, as well as customs duties of a fiscal nature. Articles 16 and 17 of the Agreement reflect provisions of articles 34 and 35 of the EU Treaty prohibiting imposition of quantitative restrictions on imports and exports and all measures having equivalent effect to the parties.

Article 36 of the Agreement partly reflects provisions of Article 101 which is applied to the rules of competition.

Thus, creation of legal frameworks for regulating relations within the associations between the EU and Mediterranean countries involves application of the Unions primary and secondary law for purposes of cooperation within a limited scope, only. The association agreements between these countries and the EU just contain certain rules of the EU Treaties. At the same time, they include quite a large amount of references to a broad range of rules regulating economic relations in specific sectors of the internal market of the Union. This implies that the EU acquis extends its applicability to the associated countries of the Mediterranean region.

Supra­national nature of harmonization of the associated countries legislation. Harmonization of legislation has become an important EU instrument for impacting the internal legal orders of third countries. In relations between the EU and the associated countries, the compatibility of their legislation with EU law can be achieved at various levels (level of international obligations, level of EU obligations, etc.). At each of these levels the harmonization is implemented by various means (e.g. accession to international treaties, making national laws consistent with the legal acts of EU institutions, recognition of the national standards of the EU Member States by the associated countries, mutual recognition of rules of the other party).

Association agreements usually specify the main spheres in which the harmonization is supposed to be achieved by means of undertaking relevant international obligations regarding particular international relations. These mainly include intellectual property, energy, environmental protection, and the prevention of money laundering. The Association agreement between the EU and Ukraine (AA) [3] stipulates that, pursuant to articles 40, 46, 158, Ukraine and the EU are to act according to a number of the provisions of the WTO Agreement (articles VIII, XI, XX, XXI), as well as to some WTO agreements including the WTO Agreement on Trade­related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Agreement on Safeguards, Anti­Dumping Agreement, Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Duties, etc.

However, harmonization by acceding to international instruments that set international standards in particular spheres is generally not all­sufficient. As a rule, it requires additional legal measures to be undertaken in the form of national laws adopted with the aim of implementing provisions of the association agreements.

Adoption of national laws and regulations that are compatible with the Community law has become a common harmonization method which Ukraine and the EU rely upon in their relations. The legal basis for such harmonization is established in the AA (Preamble, articles 1, 20, 56, 58, 59, 64, 67, 84, 114, 124, 133, 138, 140, 148, 149, 153, 151, 152, 256, 262, 264, 278, 337, 338, 342, 343, 353, 355, 358, 363, 368, 375, 379, 385, 394, 397, 405, 410, 417, 424, 428, 474, etc.) and Ukrainian legislation. Such harmonization expands to the spheres of protection of intellectual property rights, customs, company law, banking, company accounting, taxes, labour protection, financial services, competition rules, public procurement, protection of health and life of humans, animals and plants, the environment, technical rules and standards, nuclear energy, transport, industry, agriculture, social area, sanitary and phito­sanitary rules, European standards on the assessment of conformity
of industrial products, small and medium enterprises, statistics, etc.

Harmonization of the associated countries legislation with that of the EU at the level of EU obligations bears some traces of supra­nationality. In the course of harmonization of their legislation, the associated countries should take into account that this process is not reciprocal as it does not involve any reciprocal steps of both parties to make their legal acts compatible with each other and only requires the associated country to change its legislation in order to harmonize it with EU law. The associated countries actually have no influence on the law­making process within the EU and mainly play the role of being a destination point for EU legal precepts.

The AA lays down a mechanism that will allow for interpreting provisions of EU law which Ukrainian legislation is to be harmonized with. On the one hand, according to the Agreement, the appropriate EU bodies are to inform Ukraine on amendments to EU law (Article 67). On the other hand, the AA provides that in some areas of cooperation the proper provisions of the EU founding treaties, acts of the EU institutions, and the EU Court of Justice decisions serve as the legal sources for interpretation (articles 3, 4, 153, 262, 263). All this may help Ukraine to avoid the situation when national norms may appear inconsistent with EU rules and, thus, the efficiency of implementation of EU law into Ukraines national legal order may be diminished. Therefore, the ultimate goal of harmonization, which consists in the creation of similar legal conditions for the entities regulated by the basic and harmonized norms, may be achieved.

The AA also provides that the EU bodies and the bodies of cooperation established under it will make an assessment of the harmonization progress. First of all, Ukraine is obliged to report to the EU on its harmonization measures. The surveillance on behalf of the EU may include special missions with the participation of EU institutions and agencies, non­governmental bodies, supervisory authorities, independent experts, etc. The results of monitoring missions are to be discussed in the organs of cooperation established by the AA, which take common recommendations as to the efficiency of the harmonization. The recommendations are submitted to the Association Council which should decide on further market opening (Article 475).

In considering approaches to the harmonization process, one can conclude that Ukraine now mainly uses an evolutionary one focusing on the meaning and intent of the EU norms which the Ukrainian legislation is to be aligned with. Such an approach may be justified by the fact that the national legal system in general has extensive legislation that is codified in the majority of areas relevant to acquis. However, in the areas where there is no extensive national legislation a revolutionary approach is appropriate. That is the so­called transposition of the norms of acquis into the legal order of Ukraine [See: Petrov, 2012]. Transposition is used when there is an urgent need to precipitate the speed of the process of harmonization and remove pre­existing Ukrainian legal acts by providing for direct incorporation of EU norms without making any significant amendments to them and avoiding time consuming parliamentary procedures. In such cases more competence is supposed to be given to the executive bodies in adopting normative acts, as was done in Poland, Hungary, the Baltic states, Bulgaria and some other countries [Preston, 1998: 147­168; Cremona, 2007: 129135]. The AA provides for transposition of EU legal acts in such areas as technical rules and standards, cross­border supply of services, public procurement (articles 56, 96, 153).

So, the transposition of acquis into the legal order of Ukraine means that legislative bodies of the associated state are excluded from law­making, and EU legal acts in the forms of regulations and directives form a part of the national legal orders of Ukraine.

Supra­nationality of the association institutions. The association agreements lay the basis for the creation of an institutional mechanism that has some supra­national features. The agreements define the powers of the organs of the association and the types of legal acts they adopt. As a rule, the institutions of the association are formed on a bilateral platform. They adopt legal acts on the implementation of the association agreements provisions. Some of them are binding to association countries and may contribute to the expansion of EU law on the legal orders of associated countries.

There is quite a complex institutional mechanism created on the basis of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine with the aim of ensuring that the provisions of the agreement and the EU legislative acts are properly implemented by the parties. The functioning of such a mechanism is largely based on the agreements provisions and at the top of it is the Association Council composed of the representatives of the EU Council and the EU Commission, on the one hand, and representatives of the associated country at the ministerial level, on the other.

One of the Association Councils objectives is to exercise permanent control over the realization and implementation of the Association Agreement. The Association Council may consider the issues of bilateral and international relations. It may serve as a forum for the exchange of information concerning the internal legal acts of both parties which are in force and those which are prepared as well as their implementation measures, their enforcement and their realization.

The Association Council approves by mutual consent the decisions which are binding to the parties and recommendations. What is important is that the Association Council can amend the annexes to the association agreements that contain the lists of EU legal acts with which the national legislation of the associated state is to be harmonized taking into account the standards in force fixed in international legal instruments.

The Association Council may settle any dispute between the parties concerning interpretation, implementation or execution in good faith of the Association Agreement. The Association Council may settle the dispute by taking the binding decisions.

The Association Committee assists the Association Council and consists of representatives of the members of the EU Council and representatives of the members of the EU Commission, on the one hand, and representatives of the associated country at the level of state civil servants, on the other.

The Association Council may delegate to the Association Committee any powers including the power to adopt binding decisions. The decisions of the Association Committee delivered on the basis of delegated powers are taken by mutual consent and are binding for the parties (Article 465).

The Parliamentary Committee is composed of members of the European Parliament and the national parliaments. It has no say in decision­making. The Parliamentary Committee may only make requests to the Association Council and the Association Committee concerning implementation of the association agreements. It also is to be informed about the decision of the Association Council and may pass recommendations (Article 468).

On the other hand, by vesting the Association Council and the Association Committee with the powers to pass binding decisions may be justified by the necessity to provide efficient implementation of the AA. The experience of the functioning of other EU association agreements confirms this. This is why the Ukrainian party in the course of negotiations insisted on the inclusion of such provisions in the AA.

The mere fact that the Association Council and the Association Committee are formed and act on an equal basis (articles 462, 463.1, 465.3) corresponds to the principles fixed in Article 19 of the Ukrainian Constitution. Although some of the decisions are binding for the parties they deal only with the subject matter of the AA (articles 463.3, 465.3), that is, their powers are restricted by the Agreement. It may mean that such decisions do not bear any threat to the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. They do not undermine the principle of the distribution of powers in Ukraine and do not deprive the Ukrainian Parliament of the authority to pass legislative acts with the aim of implementing the provisions of the AA, in particular, in the directions provided for by Article 92 of the Ukrainian Constitution (the matters that shall be determined exclusively by the laws of Ukraine). There are no provisions in the Agreement which could confirm the priority of the decisions taken by the Association Council and the Association Committee over Ukrainian internal legislation.

Therefore, the supra­nationality of the institutional mechanism of the Associations with third states reflects to a large extent the supra­national character of the institutions of the European Union. The powers of decision­making are vested in the executive authorities of the parties, and the representative bodies, like parliaments, exercise consultative functions only. However, such supra­nationality is used for ensuring the efficiency of the implementation of the Agreement.

Conclusions. By entering into association agreements with third countries the European Union pursues the same legal policy as in the relations within the Union itself.

The legal regulation of the relations between the Union and the associated countries bears some elements of supra­nationality, when EU law and the method of subordination becomes an integral part of the association treaties.

The impact of EU legislation and practice on the legal orders of the associated countries is exercised by including in the Association agreements the provisions analogous by its content to those which are fixed in the acts of primary and secondary legislation of the European Union or which contain references to EU legislative acts, by incorporation of the EU acquis into the legal orders of third countries by means of the harmonization of the legislation of the associated countries with that of the EU. The Association institutions may pass binding decisions for the parties, some of which may extend the list of acquis for harmonization.

This, in turn, sets the stage for the penetration of EU law rules as fixed in association agreements into the internal legal orders of the respective third countries. Association agreements of the European Union may provide for the direct effect of EU law rules both within the legal order of the Union and that of third countries. The criteria for the direct effect of provisions of the EU international agreements have been worked out by the ECJ.

 

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Viktor MURAVIOV