EC bid for more authority

4 April 2006

The European Commission (EC) is pushing for the right to represent all 25 European Union (EU) member states at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

It has asked EU ministers for permission to open negotiations with the IAEA on changing its rules of operation so it can vote on behalf of national governments for policies covered by the Euratom treaties, such as radiation protection. In a memorandum, the commission wrote: “Community (EU) representatives may only make a statement after all states have taken the floor and cannot submit proposals or amendments. The Community does not have the right to vote, even on matters on which it has exclusive or shared competence.” In such circumstances, it added, the commission “should be allowed to represent fully the EU at the IAEA,” including making proposals during negotiations for international conventions, voting on behalf of member states and consenting" on its own behalf to assume the rights and obligations” from IAEA agreements. Without such changes, “there is an obvious disparity between the competences” of the EU “and the status which the (EU) Community is accorded in the IAEA.”

The commission initially wants permission to talks with the IAEA on improving its position and identifying necessary changes in the UN body’s rules and statutes.

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