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)

Commision Européenne | 28-Aug-2014
L’Union européenne a franchi aujourd’hui une étape importante vers la mise en place d’une politique globale d’investissement, avec la publication d’un règlement établissant un nouvel ensemble de règles pour gérer les litiges dans le cadre des accords d’investissement conclus avec ses partenaires commerciaux.
European Commission | 28-Aug-2014
The European Union today took an important step towards creating a comprehensive EU investment policy, with the publication of a Regulation setting out a new set of rules to manage disputes under the EU’s investment agreements with its trading partners.
S&D Group in the EP | 27-Aug-2014
The Socialist & Democrat Group in the European Parliament has always opposed the inclusion of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in CETA, says their president G. Pitella, and it will be up to the Parliament to decide whether or not to ratify the agreement.
ContreLaCour | 26-Aug-2014
Le chapitre relatif aux investissements, avec notamment la partie relative au mécanisme de règlement des différends Etat-investisseur, étant traduit, ContreLaCour s’attache en ce moment à la traduction du projet de Traité dans son ensemble.
Le Monde | 17-Aug-2014
The most controversial provisions include the investor state dispute resolution mechanism (ISDS), an arbitral tribunal meant to settle disputes between governments and corporations.
Le Monde | 17-Aug-2014
Parmi les dispositions les plus controversées figure le mécanisme de règlement des différends investisseurs-Etats (ISDS)
EurActiv | 15-Aug-2014
The leaked EU-Canada trade agreement contains a controversial chapter on investor-state disputes settlement that is substantially unchanged from previous drafts that were used as a basis for the EU’s recently held public consultation.
The Guardian | 8-Aug-2014
More than two-thirds of voters in 13 battleground constituencies want to see the NHS safeguarded from a new trade deal that critics say threatens to make the privatisation of UK health services permanent.
The Star | 4-Aug-2014
From a Canadian perspective, the Eli Lilly case has provided a powerful reminder that the risks associated with ISDS may outweigh the benefits with legal cases that can take decades to resolve.
ABColombia | 1-Aug-2014
The UK-Colombia Bilateral Investment Treaty that was ratified by the House of Commons on 10 July 2014 poses grave risks to the achievement of human rights and the successful implementation of agreements currently being made in the peace dialogues between the FARC guerrilla and the Colombian Government in Havana.

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