Europe

European Union (EU) member states have signed over 1300 investment treaties with third countries, in addition to some 200 between EU members. Non-EU European states are party to over 500 treaties. Most of these contain investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, which enable foreign corporations to take ISDS claims against states if they deem their profits or potential investment to be affected by new laws or changes in policy.

The EU has ratified four agreements with an ISDS mechanism: the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), to which 53 European and Central Asian countries are party, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, and agreements with Vietnam and Singapore. Only the ECT has been fully in force. The ISDS provisions in the three others will be implemented after all member states have ratified them.

These three deals also include a revised ISDS mechanism created by the European Commission, known as the investment court system. Many critics say that this new system is largely window-dressing and does not address the core of the problem behind investor-state dispute measures.

In 2015, the European Commission asked the EU member states to terminate their intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (BITs), arguing they are incompatible with EU law, which was confirmed by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its “Achmea” decision.

As of April 2020, the number of intra-EU ISDS disputes amounted to 170, approximately 17% of all cases globally, 76 of which having been brought under the ECT.

Overall investors from European countries have initiated over 600 ISDS cases, half of which are against non-European states. European countries have been targeted in about 350 cases. Grouped together, investors from EU member states have launched the majority of total disputes (over 400).

Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Ukraine have been among the ten most frequent respondent states, while the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Italy 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).

(April 2020)

IISD | 28-Mar-2020
Los demandantes iniciaron el arbitraje del CIADI contra España, alegando violaciones del Tratado sobre la Carta de la Energía, incluidas el trato justo y equitativo, la cláusula paraguas y de no perjuicio.
IISD | 28-Mar-2020
Les demandeurs ont entamé un arbitrage CIRDI contre l’Espagne, invoquant des violations du Traité sur la charte de l’énergie, notamment les clauses de traitement juste et équitable, de parapluie et de non-entrave.
IISD | 28-Mar-2020
The claimants initiated ICSID arbitration against Spain, claiming breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty, including the fair and equitable treatment, umbrella and non-impairment clauses.
IISD | 27-Mar-2020
Magyar e Inicia afirmaron que Hungría había expropiado sus derechos de arrendamiento a las tierras tras una reforma del sector agrícola destinada a promover las explotaciones agrícolas familiares a expensas de las empresas agrícolas.
IISD | 27-Mar-2020
Magyar et Inicia ont affirmé que la Hongrie avait exproprié leurs droits de bail sur la terre, suite à une réforme du secteur agricole visant à promouvoir les exploitations familiales au détriment des entreprises agricoles.
IISD | 27-Mar-2020
Magyar and Inicia filed for arbitration against Hungary claiming expropriation of their leasehold rights to the land, following an agricultural sector reform to promote family farms over farming companies.
EJIL: Talk! | 18-Mar-2020
While policies aiming to phase out coal are necessary to tackle climate change, they may give rise to legal claims from companies whose investments are adversely affected by the low-carbon energy transition.
Gabriel Resources | 16-Mar-2020
Gabriel has provided notice to Romania of a dispute with regard to Romania’s application to UNESCO in relation to Roşia Montană and has reserved its right to commence a further arbitration.
Ministère de l’Economie et des Finances, France | 13-Mar-2020
Le CIRDI estime que le traité de protection des investissements Espagne-Pérou n’a pas été violé et demande à Lidercón d’indemniser l’État péruvien à hauteur de 4 MUSD.
El Confidencial | 11-Mar-2020
El Ciadi desestima las reclamaciones de dos fondos suecos que habían invertido en hidráulica. El laudo, por unanimidad, se suma a los tres anteriores recibidos desde diciembre

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