This Article will focus on the question of exclusive competence in the field of EU external relations, especially in the light of recent developments. After a brief discussion on the origins and development of exclusive competence, a distinction will be made between common commercial policy, which has traditionally been the most important area of an explicit “a priori” exclusive competence, and what is often called an implicit exclusive competence, which, as it is today based on some general criteria enshrined in TFEU Article 3(2), may be called “supervening” exclusive competence. With regard to both categories, the main focus will be on recent developments, notably the impact of the Treaty of Lisbon, which introduced the TFEU and its Articles 2 and 3, as well as the case law of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ” or the “Court”) following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, on December 1, 2009.

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