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 Commission | 15-May-2019
The European Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Decision authorising negotiations to modernise the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), to which the EU is part.
Russian Fund for the Protection of Investors’ Rights in Foreign States | 14-May-2019
The Fund for Protection of Investors’ Rights in Foreign States sent an notice of arbitration against Lithuania for the illegal expropriation of the Bank “Snoras”, in accordance with the investment agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Lithuania.
L’Echo | 14-May-2019
Il accuse la Belgique de ne pas l’avoir protégé face à un traitement inégalitaire vis-à-vis d’autres clubs. Et d’avoir contribué à lui faire perdre tous ses investissements.
Reuters | 14-May-2019
Poland’s prime minister and other government officials will meet to discuss a threat by Australia’s Prairie Mining to sue Warsaw over difficulties it faced in developing coal projects
Le Vif | 7-May-2019
L’une des cibles de cette contestation populaire était - et reste - le système d’arbitrage qui permet aux multinationales de contester n’importe quelle réglementation prise par les Etats susceptible d’entraîner une réduction des leurs profits.
Nepali Times | 7-May-2019
Axiata UK may be required to exhaust local remedies before resorting to arbitration under the UK-Nepal investment treaty
No al TTIP | 7-May-2019
Para la campaña “No a los tratados de comercio e inversión” resulta inaceptable que exista un sistema de justicia paralelo al que las multinacionales puedan acudir para desafiar una decisión de un parlamento o gobierno por supuestamente perjudicar sus expectativas de ganancias.
Vrijschrift | 6-May-2019
The EU Court suggests: well, just don’t pay. And let us block enforcement of unreasonable ISDS awards.
Le Vent Se Lève | 6-May-2019
Le mécanisme ICS est sans aucun doute un scandale sanitaire, écologique, économique, public, politique, mais en aucun cas un scandale juridique, du moins du point de vue du droit communautaire européen.
EU Observer | 30-Apr-2019
But legality should not be our main concern here. There are much better approaches to international investment and we should be considering them.

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