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)

Reuters | 26-Jul-2014
Germany is to reject a multi-billion free trade deal between the European Union and Canada which is widely seen as a template for a bigger agreement with the United States, a leading German paper reported on Saturday.
iPolitics | 23-Jul-2014
The end of the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) technical negotiations are “in sight” and the deal should be initialed in time for a late September bilateral summit in Ottawa, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said Tuesday.
Global Arbitration Review | 11-Jul-2014
Corporate counsel and practitioners in Europe have formed a non-profit association to promote the benefits of investor-state arbitration and influence EU policy on investment protection.
ENDS Europe | 10-Jul-2014
Asked about the trade deal the Commission is currently negotiating with the US, which campaigners fear will allow private companies to challenge the EU’s environmental rules, Mr Juncker stressed that the normal, publicly accountable, court system should be used instead of private courts or arbitration panels.
PTI | 15-May-2014
With tax authorities pressing with over Rs 21,000 crore in unpaid dues, Finnish telecom major Nokia has invoked the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) India has with Finland to resolve the dispute.
Indian Express | 13-May-2014
Entangled in a protracted tax mess in the country, Nokia has said that it would like to address the issue under the bilateral investment treaty between Finland and India, sources told The Indian Express.
ETUC | 9-May-2014
The EU-Canada trade agreement – which may be concluded on May 8 at the Foreign Affairs Council – should not be used as a ‘Trojan horse’ to smuggle in a controversial Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) warned the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
Live Mint | 8-May-2014
Vodafone Group Plc has abandoned the conciliation process and started international investment arbitration against the Indian government over its long-running tax dispute.
ETUC | 7-May-2014
The EU-Canada trade agreement – which may be concluded on May 8 at the Foreign Affairs Council – should not be used as a ‘Trojan horse’ to smuggle in a controversial Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) warned the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
AP | 6-May-2014
Germany’s vice chancellor is underlining doubts about the need for new investment rules in a proposed European Union-U.S. trade deal — a thorny issue in the talks.

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