18 Apr 2023
Brown Bag Seminar, 12:15, Anna Nussbaum Auditorium, World Trade Institute, Hallerstrasse 6, Bern, Switzerland

Brown Bag Seminar: "The impact of EU primary law on its trade agreements and their contribution to environmental protection"

Cédric Henet from UC Louvain visits the WTI to present his paper on the latest EU Trade Policy challenges.


Environmental concerns occupy an increasingly important place in the opposition to recent external trade agreements of the European Union (EU) and, given the environmental challenges ahead, one can expect that this evolution is likely to strengthen.

Environmentalists opposing these agreements highlight that trade-induced economic growth can conflict with ecological sustainability. In essence, they desire trade agreements that directly contribute to making EU external trade more environmentally sustainable.

In this context, one can wonder what influence EU Treaties have on the objectives of the EU trade policy as well as on the shape and the content of newly negotiated external trade agreements.

  • Do EU primary law provisions operate as constitutive rules for these agreements in the sense that they provide for their objectives and shape their content?
  • If so, does that prevent the EU from using trade agreements for pursuing, for instance, environmental objectives?
  • Under the current framework for EU trade policy, is environmental protection condemned to intervene as an exception or could it be an integral objective of these agreements?

Speaker's Biography:

Since October 2018, Cédric Henet is working as a teaching assistant in International Economic Law and a PhD researcher in EU Trade Law at UCLouvain (Belgium). Before that, he worked for four years as an EU and Public Law attorney in a business law firm. He holds a Bachelor in Law, a Bachelor in Political Sciences, and a Master in Law from UCLouvain as well as an LLM in EU Law from the KULeuven. In 2021, Prof. Andrew Lang invited Cédric for a research stay at the Edinburgh Centre for International and Global Law.

His current researches aims at critically analysing to which extent the new generation of EU external trade agreements can contribute to environmental protection and climate change mitigation. It explores the evolution of the relationship between, on the one hand, EU external trade agreements and, on the other, environmentalists’ concerns and objectives. Through this analysis, he bring to light the legal and political reasons underlying this evolution and put forward several proposals for improvements.

We strongly encourage you to attend this event on-site.

In case you cannot be present in person, you can use the following Zoom link to tune in virtually: 

The session will NOT be recorded and comments and questions from the audience in person will be prioritized

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