(10) Exceptionally, certain regional agreements between a few Member States and a few third countries, for example two or three, intended to address local situations and not open for accession to other States should also be covered by this Regulation.
(11) In order to ensure that an agreement envisaged by a Member State does not render Community law ineffective and does not undermine the proper functioning of the system established by that law, or undermine the Community’s external relations policy as decided by the Community, the Member State concerned should (p. 165) be required to notify the Commission of its intentions with a view to obtaining an authorisation to open or continue formal negotiations on an agreement as well as to conclude an agreement. Such notification should be given by letter or by electronic means. It should contain all relevant information and documentation enabling the Commission to assess the expected impact on Community law of the outcome of the negotiations.
(12) It should be assessed whether there is sufficient Community interest in concluding a bilateral agreement between the Community and the third country concerned or, where appropriate, in replacing an existing bilateral agreement between a Member State and a third country with a Community agreement. To that end, all Member States should be informed of any notification received by the Commission concerning an agreement envisaged by a Member State in order to allow them to demonstrate their interest in joining the initiative of the notifying Member State. If, from this exchange of information, a sufficient Community interest were to emerge, the Commission should consider proposing a negotiating mandate with a view to the conclusion of an agreement between the Community and the third country concerned.
(13) If the Commission requests additional information from a Member State in connection with its assessment as to whether that Member State should be authorised to open negotiations with a third country, such a request should not affect the time limits within which the Commission is to give a reasoned decision on the application of that Member State.
(14) When authorising the opening of formal negotiations, the Commission should be able, if necessary, to propose negotiating guidelines or request the inclusion of particular clauses in the envisaged agreement. The Commission should be kept fully informed throughout the different stages of the negotiations as far as matters falling within the scope of this Regulation are concerned and should be allowed to participate as an observer in the negotiations as regards those matters.
(15) When notifying the Commission of their intention to enter into negotiations with a third country, Member States should only be required to inform the Commission of elements which are of relevance for the assessment to be made by the Commission. The authorisation by the Commission and any possible negotiating guidelines or, as the case may be, the refusal by the Commission should concern only matters falling within the scope of this Regulation.
(16) All Member States should be informed of any notification to the Commission concerning envisaged or negotiated agreements and of any reasoned decision by the Commission under this Regulation. Such information should however fully comply with possible confidentiality requirements.
(17) The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission should ensure that any information identified as confidential is treated in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents .
(p. 166) (18) Where the Commission, on the basis of its assessment, intends not to authorise the opening of formal negotiations or the conclusion of a negotiated agreement, it should, before giving its reasoned decision, give an opinion to the Member State concerned. In the case of refusal to authorise the conclusion of a negotiated agreement the opinion should also be submitted to the European Parliament and to the Council.
(19) In order to ensure that the negotiated agreement does not constitute an obstacle to the implementation of the Community’s external policy on judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters, the agreement should provide either for its full or partial denunciation in the event of the conclusion of a subsequent agreement between the Community or the Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the same third country, on the other hand, on the same subject matter, or for a direct replacement of the relevant provisions of the agreement by the provisions of such subsequent agreement.
(20) Provision should be made for transitional measures to cover situations where, at the time of the entry into force of this Regulation, a Member State has already started the process of negotiating an agreement with a third country, or has completed the negotiations but has not yet expressed its consent to be bound by the agreement.