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)

EurActiv | 28-Nov-2014
German Minister of Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel is clashing with his own party over the EU’s planned free trade agreement with Canada (CETA), calling on Bundestag members to approve the deal despite the controversial investor protection provision.
CUPE | 19-Nov-2014
A new report warns that controversial investor protection rules in the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union could expose Canada to a new wave of corporate lawsuits that restrict the powers of all levels of governments.
EurActiv | 17-Nov-2014
Le secrétaire d’État au commerce, Matthias Fekl a rappelé que la France n’avait pas été favorable à l’inclusion des tribunaux d’arbitrage dans le cadre du partenariat transatlantique.
EurActiv | 17-Nov-2014
Matthias Fekl, France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, has made it clear that France will not support the inclusion of the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) in a potential TTIP agreement.
TNI | 13-Nov-2014
The case of Newmont Mining vs Indonesia is a powerful example of how investment agreements, particularly Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), are used by companies to get exemptions from government regulations and legislation, undermining democracy and development.
EurActiv | 12-Nov-2014
Only small changes can be made to an investment protection clause in a trade pact between Canada and the European Union, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said on Monday (10 November).
TNI | 7-Nov-2014
In an open letter Japanese & European groups call for transparency in the EU-Japan trade talks and removing the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
TDM | 6-Nov-2014
The editors of Transnational Dispute Management journal invite contributions to a special edition on CETA
Litigation Daily | 4-Nov-2014
The Supreme Court on Monday shunned the republic’s latest appeal in a decade-long battle with BG Group plc, a British energy company that won a $185 million arbitration ruling against Argentina under a bilateral investment treaty.
Vrijschrift | 3-Nov-2014
On 15 September Vrijschrift informed the European Parliament international trade committee that investor-to-state arbitration (ISDS) in the draft trade agreement with Canada is rigged to the advantage of the US. Today Vrijschrift informed the committee the same is true for the draft trade agreement with Singapore.

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