The European Union in United Nations Economic Governance Fora

  • Anna-Luise Chané
  • Jan Wouters
Part of the European Yearbook of International Economic Law book series (EUROYEAR, volume 8)


Despite being one of the “heavyweights” in international trade, finance and development, the European Union’s (EU) presence in the economic governance fora of the United Nations (UN) continues to be fraught with difficulties. Faced with the legal and political hurdles of multilateral diplomacy in a state-centric environment, the EU has had to deal with a lack of status and participation rights, the complexities of an internal coordination process involving 28 Member States, and the challenges of ensuring a cohesive external representation. This contribution provides a brief overview of the legal basis for EU engagement in the UN, the Union’s internal coordination process, as well as the framework governing its external representation. To highlight the patchwork of legal statuses and modes of engagement, we subsequently take a closer look at the EU’s relations with a select number of UN bodies in the area of economic governance. This allows us to illustrate the respective challenges in three scenarios: UN fora where the EU and the EU Member States hold membership rights, where we look at FAO; UN fora where the EU holds an observer or full participant status while its Member States have membership rights, where we look at ECOSOC, its subsidiary bodies, and UNCTAD; and UN fora where the EU Member States are members but where the EU has no formal status: here we look at the World Bank.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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