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)

New York Times | 25-Feb-2014
Repsol, the Spanish oil company agreed to a $5 billion compensation deal with Argentina for the seizure of the company’s operations in that country, ending a bitter two-year dispute.
Alliance News | 25-Feb-2014
The thermal coal producer said the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes rejected Indonesia’s jurisdictional challenges and it can now pursue claims for damages under the respective Bilateral Investment Treaties Indonesia entered into with the United Kingdom and Australia.
EurActiv | 13-Feb-2014
Les multinationales pourront intenter des procès à un État membre si ce dernier promulguait de nouvelles lois sur l’environnement allant à l’encontre des « attentes légitimes » des entreprises, selon un chapitre de l’accord commercial entre l’UE et le Canada signé en novembre dernier.
EurActiv | 11-Feb-2014
Multinationals will have wide-ranging powers to sue EU states that enact health or environmental laws breaching their "legitimate expectations" of profit, according to a leaked ‘investment chapter’ from the Canada-EU free trade agreement. A separate ‘nature and scope’ document for EU-US free trade talks, which EurActiv has seen, makes clear that similar parameters are foreseen for TTIP.
Business Day | 5-Feb-2014
A stir greeted last year’s announcement by the South African government that it would not be renegotiating bilateral investment agreements with major trading partners such as the EU. However, it now seems as if a lot of dust has settled around the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, which is set to replace the agreements.
Stock Market Wire | 4-Feb-2014
UK power generator Rurelec has won an historic Bolivian compensation award worth $35.5m, the first granted by an international court against Bolivia.
FT | 22-Jan-2014
EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht pledged to release a proposed negotiating text of the investment chapter of any deal in March.
Reuters | 21-Jan-2014
La Comisión Europea suspendió hoy en parte las negociaciones de libre comercio con Estados Unidos, según anunció el comisario de Comercio, Karel de Gucht, que explicó que en los próximos tres meses habrá que realizar una consulta sobre unas polémicas cláusulas para proteger las inversiones de las empresas.
S2B | 21-Jan-2014
Seattle to Brussels Network analysis of the European Commission’s note on “Investment Provisions in the EU-Canada free trade agreement”
The Independent | 21-Jan-2014
The European Commission is to rethink its approach to a controversial US trade deal which campaign groups in the UK have warned would fundamentally erode Britain’s sovereignty.

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