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).

Photo: War on Want

(April 2020)

CIEL | 23-Sep-2022
What recent case law and treaty reforms may mean for the future of investment arbitration in the energy sector.
Open Democracy | 23-Sep-2022
Australia deal and Energy Charter Treaty show why we must be able to hold government accountable for trade.
Stop CETA Mercosur | 21-Sep-2022
Depuis le 2 septembre, la France est officiellement poursuivie au titre du Traité sur la charte de l’énergie.
Le Monde du Droit | 21-Sep-2022
L’arrêt Achmea conduira potentiellement certains investisseurs à structurer leurs investissements via des Etats tiers afin, de préserver leur possibilité de recourir à l’arbitrage d’investissement.
Client Earth | 21-Sep-2022
An international treaty that hamstrings governments’ ability to make climate policy is still in force – and an attempted overhaul has not worked. This is why the EU and its member states need to walk away from the Energy Charter Treaty.
CIAR Global | 20-Sep-2022
El 14 de septiembre de 2022, el tribunal del arbitraje de inversiones entre Mathias Kruck y otros v. España emitió su “Decision sobre jurisdicción, responsabilidad y quantum“ rechazando argumento de España sobre incompatibilidad del Tratado de la Carta de la Energía (TCE) con el Derecho de la Unión Europea.
Reporterre | 16-Sep-2022
Une entreprise allemande poursuit la France au nom du Traité sur la charte de l’énergie, suite à la décision du gouvernement français de réduire les tarifs de rachat de l’électricité photovoltaïque.
IISD | 15-Sep-2022
The text of the agreement in principle to modernize the Energy Charter Treaty leaves unanswered too many crucial questions about the possibility of further fossil fuel carveouts and the exact timing of its entry into force.
CNCD 11.11.11 | 14-Sep-2022
La version réformée du traité comporte des avancées qui ne sont toutefois pas suffisantes pour répondre à l’urgence climatique.
State of Power | 14-Sep-2022
The ECT Secretariat, whose survival depends on continuation of the treaty, continues to lobby these countries to take additional steps towards acceding to the Energy Charter Treaty.

0 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | ... | 1780