Europe

European Union member states have signed over 1500 trade agreements with third countries, in addition to some 200 bilateral investment treaties (BIT) between EU members. Non-EU European states are party to over 700 trade agreements. Most of all of these contain investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions.

The EU as such has only ratified one treaty with an ISDS mechanism, the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), to which 52 European and Central Asian countries are party. The EU is also in the process of ratifying comprehensive trade agreements with Canada (CETA) and Singapore, both of which include ISDS provisions, and is currently negotiating trade deals with the US (TTIP), India, Malaysia, Vietnam and many other countries.

The EU has initiated the majority of disputes if all claims submitted by EU member states are grouped together (300 from the 28 member states put together in 2014). Only 11% of awards in favour of investors from the EU have been made public, corresponding to a total known amount of about €3.5 billion. European states altogether have been targeted in 46% of all cases (2013).

At the end of 2014, the number of intra-EU ISDS disputes amounted to 99, approximately 16% of all cases globally, half of which having been brought under the ECT.

Overall, the Czech Republic, Spain and Poland have been among the ten most frequent respondent states, while the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland have been among the ten most frequent home states of the investor.

The most well-known cases include:

Yukos (Isle of Man) vs. Russia: US$50 billion awarded in 2014 to majority shareholders of the oil and gas company (ECT invoked).

Eureko (Netherland) vs. Poland: case settled in 2005 for about €2 billion in favour of the investor, a large European insurance company (Netherland-Poland BIT invoked)

Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka (Czech Republic) vs. Slovak Republic: €553 million awarded in 2004 to the investor, one of the largest commercial banks in the Czech Republic (Czech Republic-Slovak Republic BIT invoked)

(March 2016)

European Law Blog | 22-May-2017
The Court’s Opinion has consequences for future EU trade deals such as CETA and potentially a future UK-EU FTA.
EJIL: Talk! | 19-May-2017
The Court of Justice for the European Union fired a significant shot at investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), and the result is likely to be much more than just a flesh wound.
NZ Herald | 17-May-2017
If all parliaments in member states have to approve international trade deals, future trade deals may take even longer than they already do to come to fruition.
ET Telecom | 17-May-2017
Vodafone Group Plc has served its second notice on the Indian government to formally commence the​second ​arbitration in the high profile Rs 22,000 crore tax matter.
EurActiv | 16-May-2017
The European Union will have to secure approval from national parliaments in order to finalise a free trade deal with Singapore. The bloc’s top court ruled that the agreement in “its current form” cannot be handled by the Commission acting alone.
Le Monde | 16-May-2017
Dans un avis très attendu, la Cour de justice européenne estime que le traité de libre-échange signé en septembre 2013 entre Singapour et l’Union européenne devra être validé par la quarantaine de parlements nationaux de l’UE.
CIAR Global | 10-May-2017
El pasado 5 de mayo, el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias relativas a Inversiones, Ciadi, rechazó la solicitud de anulación del laudo del arbitraje Suez, Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A. y Vivendi Universal S.A. contra la República Argentina.
Transnational Dispute Management | 10-May-2017
In its September 20, 2016 Ruling, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court refused to set aside an Award in a UNCITRAL investment arbitration between Recofi SA, a French company, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction.
Le Monde De l’Energie | 9-May-2017
Le tribunal arbitral de la Banque mondiale a condamné l’Espagne à indemniser un fonds britannique s’estimant lésé par la chute des subventions au secteur des énergies renouvelables.
Lexology | 9-May-2017
An International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Committee has annulled nearly 90% of the US$1.6 billion Award which had been won by ExxonMobil affiliates in their ICSID arbitration against Venezuela.

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