Europe

European Union (EU) member states have signed over 1300 investment treaties with third countries, in addition to some 200 between EU members. Non-EU European states are party to over 500 treaties. Most of these contain investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, which enable foreign corporations to take ISDS claims against states if they deem their profits or potential investment to be affected by new laws or changes in policy.

The EU has ratified four agreements with an ISDS mechanism: the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), to which 53 European and Central Asian countries are party, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, and agreements with Vietnam and Singapore. Only the ECT has been fully in force. The ISDS provisions in the three others will be implemented after all member states have ratified them.

These three deals also include a revised ISDS mechanism created by the European Commission, known as the investment court system. Many critics say that this new system is largely window-dressing and does not address the core of the problem behind investor-state dispute measures.

In 2015, the European Commission asked the EU member states to terminate their intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (BITs), arguing they are incompatible with EU law, which was confirmed by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its “Achmea” decision.

As of April 2020, the number of intra-EU ISDS disputes amounted to 170, approximately 17% of all cases globally, 76 of which having been brought under the ECT.

Overall investors from European countries have initiated over 600 ISDS cases, half of which are against non-European states. European countries have been targeted in about 350 cases. Grouped together, investors from EU member states have launched the majority of total disputes (over 400).

Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Ukraine have been among the ten most frequent respondent states, while the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Italy 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).

(April 2020)

Memesita | 22-Jan-2021
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Finance Uncovered | 21-Jan-2021
The battle between ConocoPhillips and Vietnam result could mark a significant shift in the way huge multinationals fight off the threat of taxes from desperate revenue authorities in developing countries.
Mediapart | 21-Jan-2021
Vinci et ADP menacent le Chili d’une procédure d’arbitrage, suite à la pandémie et à la réduction concomitante du trafic aérien. Ils utilisent une justice privée qui coûtera des millions aux contribuables chiliens, indépendamment du jugement.
Aero Naves | 21-Jan-2021
Tras la negativa del Ministerio de Obras Públicas a indemnizar a ADP y Vinci por las pérdidas causadas por la pandemia del COVID-19, las dos empresas francesas iniciaron una demanda contra Chile ante el CIADI.
Star Phoenix Group Ltd | 18-Jan-2021
Star Phoenix Group Ltd has formally notified the government of Georgia of the existence of an investment dispute under the Energy Charter Treaty.
Le Monde du Droit | 18-Jan-2021
L’un des fondateurs, M. Fekl, a été ministre français du commerce extérieur. Les avocats interviennent tant en qualité de conseils qu’en tant qu’arbitres, en arbitrage commercial comme en arbitrage d’investissement.
South China Morning Post | 11-Jan-2021
Draft text shows Beijing looked to withhold telecoms sector benefits to firms from countries with restrictions on Chinese telecoms companies.
Exit News | 7-Jan-2021
Italian businessmen Francesco Becchetti has stepped up his attempt to get the compensation awarded to him in international arbitration against Albania that he won, but that is under appeal.
L’Echo | 6-Jan-2021
Un conflit judiciaire entre un homme d’affaires italien et la République d’Albanie vient de déboucher sur des saisies effectuées sur des redevances dues par Eurocontrol à l’Albanie.
CIAR Global | 22-Dec-2020
El laudo del arbitraje entre la compañía eléctrica alemana RWE y España ha sido emitido el pasado 18 de diciembre de 2020 por el tribunal del Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias relativas a Inversiones (CIADI).

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