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 | 28-Aug-2019
A World Bank tribunal has ordered Colombia to repay a $19 million fine it levied on Glencore’s coal mining subsidiary Prodeco.
Energy Voice | 20-Aug-2019
These recent awards indicate that investors now have the upper hand in their ECT claims against EU states.
Reuters | 16-Aug-2019
Anglo-Russian businessman Grigoriy Guselnikov, the bank’s former owner who sold his shares, has brought a request for international arbitration against Latvia.
ReedSmith | 13-Aug-2019
There is a lack of consensus among EU member states as to the applicability of the Achmea Ruling to the Energy Charter Treaty.
El Confidencial | 7-Aug-2019
El Ciadi ha dictado un laudo en el que condena a España a indemnizar con 41 millones de euros a SolEs Badajoz, una sociedad de origen alemán.
Renewables Now | 7-Aug-2019
Spain will have to pay EUR 41 million to German solar investor SolEs Badajoz GmbH for retroactively cutting long-term premiums for renewable energy projects.
War on Want | 5-Aug-2019
UK registered mining company Lydian is using corporate courts to bully the Armenian government into cracking down on public protests that have successfully resisted a gold mine.
The Independent | 5-Aug-2019
The Armenian government is currently being sued by a corporation for two thirds of its entire government budget. If the UK crashes out on 31 October, it could suffer a similar fate.
Morning Star | 1-Aug-2019
Parliament’s trade committee says it is alarmed by government’s failure ‘to set out even basic lines of policy’ on how international arbitration will work after Brexit.
Thomson Reuters Fondation | 31-Jul-2019
Ukraine’s state energy group Naftogaz has asked the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration to force the Russian Federation to pay the Ukrainian company $5.2 billion compensation for assets lost in annexed Crimea.

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