Exposing the EU’s propaganda about its 700 international agreements

The EU has “more than 700 international agreements,” says EU Commission President von der Leyen

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2020

Brexit Facts4EU.Org debunks the EU’s latest overblown claim

In recent weeks a new EU statistic has started appearing. It was most noticeably used by new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her pre-Christmas speech to the EU Parliament.

We have now seen this being repeated, and even being misinterpreted as being about trade deals by some news sites. Below we debunk it.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

  • No trade deal this year, and UK will lose 700+ international agreements, claims Ursula von der Leyen
  • But most agreements have no relevance to trade, and no relevance to the UK’s post-Brexit interests
  • Many agreements are with tiny countries and/or are small amendments to existing agreements

Commission President implies catastrophic loss of international agreements if no trade deal agreed

When speaking to the EU Parliament before Christmas, Frau von der Leyen referred to Brexit, and to the possibility of a “cliff-edge scenario” at the end of this year if no trade deal is reached. Here is what she actually said:-

“In case we cannot conclude an agreement by the end of 2020, we will face again a cliff-edge situation. And this would clearly harm our interests. But it will impact more the UK than us, as the European Union will continue benefitting from its single market, its customs union and the more than 700 international agreements we signed with our partners.”

- Ursula von der Leyen, EU Parliament Strasbourg, 18 Dec 2019

Frau von der Leyen's full speech is here.

In the same paragraph about a future trade deal with the EU and about the EU's Single Market, Frau von der Leyen explicitly talks about the EU’s 700+ “international agreements”. There is clear intent to imply that over 700 international trade deals will be lost by the UK.

What is the nature of some of these “international agreements”?

As ever, Brexit facts4EU.Org delved into the details and here are just a few of many examples of the international agreements to which Frau von der Leyen referred:-

  • Agreement with the Kingdom of Tonga on the short-stay visa waiver
  • (This was counted several times, for countries such as Vanuatu, Dominica, etc)
  • Agreement with the Seychelles on access for fishing around the French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean
  • Agreement with Lebanon for scientific cooperation in the Mediterranean Area

The French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean


Does the EU have 700+ international agreements? Yes, it does. Do many of them have any serious relevance to a free and and independent United Kingdom post-Brexit? No.

It is our opinion that the new EU Commission President made clear linkage between a new trade deal with the EU and with these EU agreements, as if they both related to trade.

We should just say that we haven’t actually checked whether there’s a large British fishing fleet in the vicinity of the remote French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, but somehow we doubt it.

We suspect that readers will see these 700+ EU international agreements referred to again in the course of this year. Forewarned is forearmed, and we feel that this kind of EU propaganda should be knocked on the head before it starts being repeated and gaining credence in the “Remoaner-Rump” community.


After four years of continuous seven day-a-week work, Brexit Facts4EU.Org will henceforth be publishing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This decision was taken purely on financial grounds and we thank you for your understanding and – we hope – your continued support.

To keep us going please make a donation today using one of the quick and secure links below this article. Thank you.

Finally, an especially big thank you to all those who have emailed us or posted comments on the site in the last few days. The whole team have been deeply touched by your kind words.

[ Sources: EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 04 Jan 2020

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