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Early Ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU

Early Ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU

Legal implications

As the EU considers early ratification of the Paris Agreement, this paper explains the related key legal questions that arise should the EU push to ratify without its internal burden sharing in place and without all Member States ratifying simultaneously. The paper is available for download.

It is likely that the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was adopted by the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at the end of 2015, will enter into force by the end of 2016. It might even happen in time for the climate conference that starts in Marrakech from 7 November.

The EU and its Member States are currently in the midst of negotiating internally on how they will collectively implement their contributions towards the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Given the likelihood of the Paris Agreement entering into force soon, the EU now considers ratifying the Paris Agreement quickly, without necessarily having its internal burden sharing in place or waiting for all the Member States to finalise their own ratification procedures. The reason would be to support the political momentum for the PA and also to have a seat at the table if the PA enters into force soon. However, there are a number of legal and political issues and potential consequences of early EU ratification, which we explain and assess in this paper.


Bodle, Ralph, Kalcher, Linda, and Roberts, Josh (2016): Early ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU - legal implications. Legal expert note, Ecologic Institute / European Climate Foundation / Clientearth

Linda Kalcher
Josh Roberts
9 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 What is ratification?
2.1 At the international level:
2.2 At domestic and EU level
3 What is entry into force?
4 What content is required for the ratification note from the EU and the MS?
4.1 Under international law:
4.2 Under EU law
5 Does the EU have to have implementing legislation in place at the time of depositing its instrument of ratification?
5.1 Under international law
5.1.1 General international law
5.1.2 The Paris Agreement
5.2 Under EU law
5.3 Under domestic laws of the MS
6 Do the EU and the MS have to submit their ratification notes simultaneously?
6.1 Under international law
6.2 Under EU law
7 What is the likely impact of Brexit on the EU’s ratification process?

EU law, International law, ratification, Paris Agreement,