Contracting Parties > United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea > European Union (EU)
|Signature||December 7, 1984|
|Ratification||April 1, 1998|
|Entry into force||May 1, 1998|
Declarations, Reservations etc.On 23 October 2013, the Secretary-General received from the European Union the following communication with regard to the declaration made by Ecuador upon accession:
"The European Union has carefully examined the declaration made by Ecuador upon accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The European Union recalls that, according to Article 309 of the Convention, ‘no reservations or exceptions may be made to this Convention, unless expressly permitted by other articles of this Convention’.
The European Union is concerned that certain elements of that Declaration may be incompatible with the prohibition of reservations to the Convention or incompatible with particular provisions of the Convention, and which could have an effect on the exercise of the rights of others.
However, the European Union notes that Ecuador has declared, in its discussions with representatives of the European Union, that it did not intend to exclude or modify the legal effects of the provisions of the Convention through its Declaration.
In view of this clarification, the European Union is content that the Convention should enter into force between the European Union and Ecuador without the Declaration excluding or modifying the legal effects of the provisions of the Convention."
Declaration made upon formal confirmation:
"By depositing [the instrument of formal confirmation], the Community has the honor of declaring its acceptance, in respect of matters for which competence has been transferred to it by those of its Members States which are parties to the Convention, of the rights and obligations laid down for States in the Convention and the Agreement. The declaration concerning the competence provided for in Article 5(1) of Annex IX to the Convention [follows].
The Community also wishes to declare, in accordance with Article 310 of the Convention, its objection to any declaration or position excluding or amending the legal scope of the provisions of the [said Convention], and in particular those relating to fishing activities. The Community does not consider the Convention to recognize the rights or jurisdiction of coastal States regarding the exploitation, conservation and management of fishery resources other than sedentary species outside their exclusive economic zone.
The Community reserves the right to make subsequent declarations in respect of the Convention and the Agreement and in response to future declarations and positions.
Declaration concerning the competence of the European Community with regard to matters governed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 and the Agreement of 28 July 1994 relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention (Declaration made pursuant to article 5(1) of annex IX to the Convention and to article 4(4)of the Agreement):
Article 5 (1) of Annex IX of [the said] Convention provides that the instrument of formal confirmation of an international organization shall contain a declaration specifying the matters governed by the Convention in respect of which competence has been transferred to the organization by its member States which are Parties to the Convention.
Article 4 (4) of [said Agreement] provides that formal confirmation by an international organization shall be in accordance with Annex IX of the Convention.
The European Communities were established by the Treaties of Paris (ECSC) and of Rome (EEC and Euratom), signed on 18 April 1951 and 25 March 1957 respectively. After being ratified by the Signatory States, the Treaties entered into force on 25 July 1952 and 1 January 1958. They have been amended by the Treaty on European Union, which was signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992, and most recently by the Accession Treaty signed in Corfu on 24 June 1994, which entered into force on 1 January 1995.
The current Members of the Communities are the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, Ireland, the Italian Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Austria, the Portuguese Republic, the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The [said Convention and Agreement] shall apply, with regard to the competences transferred to the European Community, to the territories in which the Treaty establishing the European Community is applied and under the conditions laid down in that Treaty, in particular Article 227 thereof.
The declaration is not applicable to the territories of Member States in which the said Treaty does not apply and is without prejudice to such acts or positions as may be adopted under the Convention and the Agreement by the Member States concerned on behalf of and in the interests of those territories.
In accordance with the provisions referred to above, this declaration indicates the competence that the Members States have transferred to the Community under the Treaties in matters governed by the Convention and the Agreement.
The scope and the exercise of such Community competence are, by their nature, subject to continuous development, and the Community will complete or amend this declaration, if necessary, in accordance with article 5(4) of Annex IX to the Convention.
The Community has exclusive competence for certain matters and shares competence with its Member States for certain other matters.
1. Matters for which the Community has exclusive competence:
The Community points out that its Member Sates have transferred competence to it with regard to the conservation and management of sea fishing resources. Hence in this field it is for the Community to adopt the relevant rules and regulations (which are enforced by the Member States) and, within its competence, to enter into external undertakings with third States or competent international organizations. This competence applies to waters under national fisheries jurisdiction and to the high seas. Nevertheless, in respect of measures relating to the exercise of jurisdiction over vessels, flagging and registration of vessels and the enforcement of penal and administrative sanctions, competence rests with the Member States whilst respecting Community law. Community law also provides for administrative sanctions.
By virtue of its commercial and customspolicy, the Community has competence in respect of those provisions of Parts X and XI of the Convention and of the Agreement of 28 July 1994 which are related to international trade.
2. Matters for which the Community shares competence with its Member States:
With regard to fisheries, for a certain number of matters that are not directely related to the conservation and management of sea fishing resources, for example research and technological development and development cooperation, there is shared competence.
With regard to the provisions on maritime transport, safety of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution contained inter alia in Parts II, III, V, VII and XII of the Convention, the Community has exclusive competence only to the extent that such provisions of the Convention or legal instruments adopted in implementation thereof affect common rules established by the Community. When Community rules exist but are not affected, in particular in cases of Community provisions establishing only minimum standards, the Member States have competence, without prejudice to the competence of the Community to act in this field.
A list of relevant Community acts appears in the Appendix. The extent of Community competence ensuing from these acts must be assessed by reference to the precise provisions of each measure, and in particular, the extent to which these provisions establish common rules.
With regard to the provisions of Parts XIII and XIV of the Convention, the Community's competence relates mainly to the promotion of coopeation on research and technological development with non-member countries and international organizations. The activities carried out by the Community here complement the activities of the Member States. Competence in this instance is implemented by the adoption of the programmes listed in the Appendix
3. Possible impact of other Community policies:
Mention should also be made of the Community's policies and activities in the fields of control of unfair economic practices, government procurement and industrial competitiveness as well as in the area of development aid. These policies may also have some relevance to the Convention and the Agreement, in particular with regard to certain provisions of Parts VI and XI of the Convention."
Declaration made upon signature:
"On signing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the European Economic Community declares that it considers that the Convention constitutes, within the framework of the Law of the Sea, a major effort in the codification and progressive development of international law in the fields to which its declaration pursuant to Article 2 of Annex IX of the Convention refers. The Community would like to express the hope that this development will become a useful means for promoting co-operation and stable relations between all countries in these fields.
The Community, however, considers that significant provisions of Part XI of the Convention are not conducive to the development of the activities to which that Part refers in view of the fact that several Member States of the Community have already expressed their position that this Part contains considerable deficiencies and flaws which require rectification. The Community recognises the importance of the work which remains to be done and hopes that conditions for the implementation of a sea bed mining regime, which are generally acceptable and which are therefore likely to promote activities in the international sea bed area, can be agreed. The Community, within the limits of its competence, will play a full part in contributing to the task of finding satisfactory solutions.
A separate decision on formal confirmation(*) will have to be taken at a later stage. It will be taken in the light of the results of the efforts made to attain a universally acceptable Convention."
Competence of the European Communities with regard to matters governed by the Convention on the Law of the Sea (Declaration made pursuant to article 2 of Annex IX to the Convention)
Article 2 of Annex IX to the Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that the participation of an international organisation shall be subject to a declaration specifying the matters governed by the Convention in respect of which competence has been transferred to the organisation by its member states.
The European Communities were established by the Treaties of Paris and of Rome, signed on 18 April 1951 and 25 1957, respectively. After being ratified by the Signatory States the Treaties entered into force on 25 July 1952 and 1 January 1958(**).
In accordance with the provisions referred to above this declaration indicates the competence of the European Economic Community in matters governed by the Convention.
The Community points out that its Member States have transferred competence to it with regard to the conservation and management of sea fishing resources. Hence, in the field of sea fishing it is for the Community to adopt the relevant rules and regulations (which are enforced by the Member States) and to enter into external undertakings with third states or competent international organizations.
(*) Formal confirmation is the term used in the Convention for ratification by international organizations (see Article 306 and Annex IX, Article 3).
(**) The Treaty of Paris establishing the European Coal and Steel Community was registered at the Secretariat of the United Nations on 15.3.1957 under No. 3729; the Treaties of Rome establishing the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) were registered on 21 April and 24 April 1958, respectively under Nos 4300 and 4301. The current members of the Communities are the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Hellenic Republic, the French Republic, Ireland,the Italian Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea shall apply, with regard to matters transferred to the European Economic Community, to the territories in which the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community is applied and under the conditions laid down in that Treaty.
Furthermore, with regard to rules and regulations for the protection and preservation of the marine environment, the Member States have transferred to the Community competences as formulated in provisions adopted by the Community and as reflected by its participation in certain international agreements (see Annex).
With regard to the provisions of Part X, the Community has certain powers as its purpose is to bring about an economic union based on a customs union.
With regard to the provisions of Part XI, the Community enjoys competence in matters of commercial policy, including the control of unfair economic practices.
The exercise of the competence that the Member States have transferred to the Community under the Treaties is, by its very nature, subject to continuous development. As a result the Community reserves the right to make new declarations at a later date."
"Community texts applicable in the sector of the protection and preservation of the marine environment and relating directly to subjects covered by the Convention
Council Decision of 3 December 1981 establishing a Community information system for the control and reduction of pollution caused by hydrocarbons discharged at sea (81/971/EEC) (OJ No L 355, 10.12.1981, p. 52).
Council Directive of 4 May 1976 on pollution caused by certain dangerous substances discharged into the aquatic environment of the Community (76/464/EEC) (OJ No L 129, 18.5.1976, p. 23).
Council Directive of 16 June 1975 on the disposal of waste oils (75/439/EEC)(OJ No L 194, 25.7.1975, p. 23).
Council Directive of 20 February 1978 on waste from the titanium dioxide industry (78/176/EEC) (OJ No L 54, 25.2.1978, p. 19).
Council Directive of 30 October 1979 on the quality required of shellfish waters (79/923/EEC) (OJ No L 281, 10.11.1979, p. 47).
Council Directive of 22 March 1982 on limit values and quality objectives for mercury discharges by the chlor-alkali electrolysis industry (82/176/EEC) (OJ No L 81, 27.3.1982, p. 29).
Council Directive of 26 September 1983 on limit values and quality objectives for cadmium discharges (83/513/EEC) (OJ No L 291, 24.10.1983, p. 1 et seq. ).
Council Directive of 8 March 1984 on limit values and quality objectives for mercury discharges by sectors other than the chlor-alkali electrolysis industry (84/156/EEC) (OJ No L 74, 17.3.1984, p. 49 et seq. )."
"The Community has also concluded the following Conventions:
Convention for the prevention of marine pollution from land-based sources (Council Decision 75/437/EEC of 3 March 1975 published in OJ No L 194, 25.7.1975, p. 5).
Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution (Council Decision of 11 June 1981 published in OJ No L 171, 27.6.1981, p. 11).
Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution and the Protocol for the prevention of pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft (Council Decision 77/585/EEC of 25 July 1977 published in OJ No L 240, 19.9.1977, p. 1).
Protocol concerning co-operation in combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by oil and other harmful substances in cases of emergency (Council Decision 81/420/EEC of 19 May 1981 published in OJ No L 162, 19.6.1981, p. 4).
Protocol of 2 and 3 April 1983 concerning Mediterranean specially protected areas (OJ No L 68/36, 10.3.1984)."
Additional InformationSignature and ratification by the European Community.