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)

Stop TTIP | 13-Feb-2015
A report authored by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Broß and recently published by the German Hans Böckler Stiftung concludes that the Investor-State-Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals currently planned to be included in the TTIP and CETA free-trade agreements are not in accordance with Germany’s constitution.
JD Supra | 9-Feb-2015
Three recent ICSID decisions involving Ecuador highlight the importance of language addressing the status of taxes in investment treaties.
EurActiv | 6-Feb-2015
The French Senate united on Tuesday (3 February) in its opposition to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS).
EurActiv | 5-Feb-2015
En France, UMP et extrême-gauche expriment les mêmes réserves sur les procédures d’arbitrage qu’ils appellent à modifier dans une résolution adoptée à l’unanimité.
EurActiv | 27-Jan-2015
Trade negotiations between the EU and Canada concluded in October 2013, but France and Germany now want to make changes to the CETA agreement’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause.
EurActiv | 27-Jan-2015
La France et l’Allemagne veulent modifier la clause de règlement des différends entre investisseurs et Etats de l’accord commercial UE-Canada, dont les négociations sont pourtant terminées depuis octobre 2013.
Techdirt | 25-Jan-2015
Even if CETA is rejected in Europe, claims under the ISDS chapter would still be possible up to three years afterwards for investments made during the provisional period.
Reuters | 22-Jan-2015
Cigarette sales have dropped in Australia since plain packaging was introduced on Dec. 1, 2012, prompting Britain to act before its national election in May even as Australia battles international legal challenges from other countries and manufacturers.
The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO) | 21-Jan-2015
If TTIP is bad, the UK-Ethiopia BIT is worse, says Lorenzo Cotula of IIED
EurActiv | 15-Jan-2015
Paris et Berlin ne veulent pas d’un mécanisme de règlement des différends en l’état au sein du traité transatlantique (TTIP) et négocient des propositions communes pour faire évoluer le dispositif.

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