Foreign Relations

Foreign Relations in Europe

Foreign Relations in the German Constitution

The Article 32 of the Basic Law of Germany, in relation of Foreign Relations, states the following:

(1) Relations with foreign countries are a responsibility of the Federation.

(2) Before the conclusion of a treaty affecting the special circumstances of a State [Land], that State [Land] has to be consulted in time.

(3) Insofar as the States [Länder] have power to legislate, they may, with the consent of the Government conclude treaties with foreign countries.

Relations with other states and international organisations in Sweden

In the Swedish Constitution: The Instrument of Government (SFS nr: 1974:152)

Chapter 10 of the Instrument of Government has the headline “Relations with other states and international organisations”. Here is the content of Chapter 10:

  • Article 1 provides the following: Agreements with other states or with international organisations are concluded by the Government. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 2 provides the following: The Government may not conclude an international agreement which is binding upon the Realm without Riksdag approval, if the agreement presupposes the amendment or abrogation of an act of law or the enactment of a new act of law, or if it otherwise concerns a matter which it is for the Riksdag to determine. If, in a case under paragraph one, a special procedure has been prescribed for the Riksdag decision which is presupposed, the same procedure shall be applied in approving the agreement. Nor may the Government, in cases other than cases under paragraph one, conclude an international agreement which is binding upon the Realm without Riksdag approval, if the agreement is of major significance. The Government may however act without obtaining the Riksdag’s approval of the agreement if the interest of the Realm so requires. In such a case the Government shall confer instead with the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs before concluding the agreement. The Riksdag may approve an agreement under paragraphs one and three which is concluded within the framework of European Union cooperation, even if the agreement does not exist in final form.
  • Article 3 provides the following: The Government may commission an administrative authority to conclude an international agreement in a matter in which the agreement does not require the participation of the Riksdag or the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs.
  • Article 4 provides the following: The rules laid down in Articles 1 to 3 apply in like manner to the commitment of the Realm to an international obligation in a form other than an agreement, and to the denunciation of an international agreement or obligation.
  • Article 5 provides the following: The Riksdag may transfer a right of decision-making which does not affect the principles of the form of government within the framework of European Union cooperation. Such transfer presupposes that protection for rights and freedoms in the field of cooperation to which the transfer relates corresponds to that afforded under this Instrument of Government and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Riksdag approves such transfer by means of a decision in which at least three fourths of those voting concur. The Riksdag’s decision may also be taken in accordance with the procedure prescribed for the enactment of fundamental law. Transfer cannot be approved until after the Riksdag has approved the agreement under Article 2. A right of decision-making which is directly based on the present Instrument of Government and which purports at the laying down of provisions, the use of assets of the State or the conclusion or denunciation of an international agreement or obligation, may in other cases be transferred, to a limited extent, to an international organisation for peaceful cooperation of which Sweden is a member, or is about to become a member, or to an international court of law. No right of decisionmaking relating to matters concerning the enactment, amendment or abrogation of fundamental law, the Riksdag Act or a law on elections for the Riksdag, or relating to the restriction of any of the rights and freedoms referred to in Chapter 2 may be thus transferred. The provisions laid down for the enactment of fundamental law apply in respect of a decision relating to such transfer. If time does not permit a decision in accordance with these provisions, the Riksdag may approve transfer by means of a decision in which at least five sixths of those voting and at least three fourths of members concur. If it has been laid down in law that an international agreement shall have validity as Swedish law, the Riksdag may prescribe, by means of a decision taken in accordance with the procedure laid down in paragraph two, that also any future amendment of the agreement binding upon the Realm shall apply within the Realm. Such a decision shall relate only to a future amendment of limited extent. Any judicial or administrative function not directly based on this Instrument of Government may be transferred, in a case other than a case under paragraph one, to another state, international organisation, or foreign or international institution or community by means of a decision of the Riksdag. The Riksdag may also in law authorise the Government or other public authority to approve such transfer of functions in particular cases. Where the function concerned involves the exercise of public authority, Riksdag approval shall take the form of a decision in which at least three fourths of those voting concur. The Riksdag’s decision in the matter of such transfer may also be taken in accordance with the procedure prescribed for the enactment of fundamental law.
  • Article 6 provides the following: The Government shall keep the Riksdag continuously informed and confer with bodies appointed by the Riksdag concerning developments within the framework of European Union cooperation. More detailed rules concerning the obligation to inform and consult are laid down in the Riksdag Act. 20 The Government shall keep the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs continuously informed of those matters relating to foreign relations which may be of significance for the Realm, and shall confer with the Council concerning these matters as necessary. In all foreign policy matters of major significance, the Government shall confer with the Council, if possible, before making its decision.
  • Article 7 provides the following: The Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs consists of the Speaker and nine other members elected by the Riksdag from among its members. More detailed rules concerning the composition of the Council are laid down in the Riksdag Act. The Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs is convened by the Government. The Government is obliged to convene the Council if at least four members of the Council request consultations on a particular matter. Meetings of the Council are presided over by the Head of State or, in his absence, by the Prime Minister. A member of the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs and any person otherwise associated with the Council shall exercise caution in communicating to others matters which have come to his knowledge in this capacity. The person presiding over a meeting of the Council may rule that a duty of confidentiality shall apply unconditionally.
  • Article 8 provides the following: The head of the ministry responsible for foreign affairs shall be kept informed whenever a matter arises at another State authority which has significance for relations with another state or an international organisation.
  • Article 9 provides the following: The Government may commit the armed forces of the Realm, or any part of them, to battle in order to repel an armed attack upon the Realm. Swedish armed forces may otherwise be committed to battle or dispatched abroad only provided 1. the Riksdag consents thereto; 2. the action is permitted under an act of law which sets out the prerequisites for such action; 3. a duty to take such action follows from an international agreement or obligation which has been approved by the Riksdag. A state of war may not be declared without the consent of the Riksdag, except in the event of an armed attack upon the Realm. The Government may authorise the armed forces to use force in accordance with international law and custom to prevent violation of Swedish territory in time of peace or during a war between foreign states.
  • Resources

    See Also

    Working Party of Foreign Relations Counsellors
    EU International Relations
    List of EU Treaties about External Relations
    List of EU Treaties about Foreign Policy
    Working Party on Transatlantic Relations
    Foreign
    Foreign Plea
    Foreign Attachment

    Leave a Comment