Reform or withdrawal from the ECT: What does it mean for coal?

Of all fossil fuels, coal has the greatest climate impact. However, sovereign decisions to phase out coal inevitably affect the investment of coal power plant operators, frequently leading to disputes concerning compensation for lost profits. 

Energy Charter Treaty Reform: Why withdrawal is an option

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) faces criticism for its outdated investment provisions and the threats it poses to the energy transition. This article examines one option for states to solve this problem—withdrawal from the treaty—and what this could mean for the EU and its member states, along with its impact on the energy transition in general.

The uncertain future of the Energy Charter Treaty: Belgium asks the European Court of Justice to rule on the compatibility of the modernized ECT with EU law

The relationship between the ECT and EU law is characterized by complexity and legal uncertainty, especially as far Article 26, the ECT’s dispute settlement mechanism and its application in an intra-EU setting is concerned. This article examines the question of whether the Achmea judgment’s finding on the incompatibility of intra-EU investment arbitration under BITs also affects the dispute settlement mechanism under the ECT

News  |  March 23, 2021

Progress report on ECT modernization negotiations indicates familiar divisions among delegations as push for EU withdrawal grows

Following three negotiation rounds on ECT modernization last year, the most recent of which concluded on November 6, 2020, a leaked progress report from December 2020 suggests that state parties are still divided on key issues. This makes progress in negotiations, which require consensus from the national delegations, difficult to come by.

News  |  March 23, 2021

EU and China announce an “in principle” investment agreement

On December 30, 2020, after seven years of discussion, Brussels and Beijing announced the conclusion of the negotiations for an “in principle” Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between China and the European Union.

News  |  March 23, 2021

CETA Investment Court System advances toward implementation while Irish activists launch campaign opposing ratification

Four decisions adopted by Canada and the European Union on January 29 have moved the parties closer to implementing an Investment Court System (ICS) under the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  The decisions on appeals, interpretation, code of conduct, and mediation were formally endorsed by CETA’s Joint Committee and Committee on Services and Investment (CSI) and will take effect once the dispute resolution provision of CETA comes into force.

The return of investment screening as a policy tool

One of the most striking trends in investment policy over the past decade has been the increased use of investment screening as a policy tool, particularly in developed economies, with the issue becoming more salient with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article provides an overview of these developments.

News  |  December 19, 2020

EU investment screening

The EU’s foreign investment screening mechanisms became operational on October 11, 2020.  As we’ve reported, guidance on the screening mechanisms, which are implemented by individual member states, was released in March 2020 following the 2019 entry into force of the FDI Screening Regulation.

Side-stepping national courts would be a big step backwards for Europe: A reaction to the EC’s public consultation on EU cross-border investment.

The European Commission has launched a public consultation initiative on the EU’s current system of investment protection and facilitation, prompted by the recent termination of BITs between the member states. In this piece, the authors caution that new forms of international investment protection are not necessary and could serve to undermine the legitimacy of the EU.

News  |  July 14, 2020

EC launches consultation on facilitating intra-EU investment

On May 26 2020, the EC launched a consultation to clarify and supplement rules on cross-border investment within the EU. According to the consultation document released by the EC, the […]

News  |  June 20, 2020

European Commission Releases Guidance for FDI Screening in Response to Global Pandemic

On March 25, 2020, the European Commission published a guidance for member states on FDI screening in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on, but not limited to, health-related industries.

News  |  June 20, 2020

EU Releases Proposal for ECT Modernization

The EU released a proposal for the modernization of the  ECT on May 27, 2020.  This latest draft of the EU’s proposal includes changes to the treaty’s definition of investment, an affirmation of parties’ right to regulate, a narrower definition of FET, and reference to a multilateral investment court. The proposal also suggests several additional articles on sustainable development, frivolous claims, security for costs, interventions by third parties, third-party funding, and valuation of damages.

News  |  March 10, 2020

China–EU investment talks: Negotiators debate new market access offers, eyeing 2020 outcome

The talks between China and the EU for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment saw an important milestone in December 2019, as the two sides exchanged new market access offers. They had exchanged market access offers once previously, in July 2018.

News  |  March 10, 2020

Brexit: United Kingdom leaves EU amid questions on future trade, investment relationships

The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU formally took place on January 31, 2020, following years of talks and repeated extensions in the Brexit deadline. With the United Kingdom now in an 11-month transition period, questions remain over the shape of the country’s future trade and investment relationship with the EU and other partners, though some further indications of what this may entail are beginning to emerge.

Toward a Code of Conduct for Investment Adjudicators: Can ethical standards salvage ISDS?

The idea of entrusting party-appointed arbitrators with powers to decide investor–state disputes through final and binding awards, inherited from commercial arbitration and traditionally accepted as appropriate, now causes discomfort among critics.

News  |  September 19, 2019

EU–China investment negotiations: Advances on national treatment, financial services

Talks for an EU–China BIT have made some progress in the areas of financial services and national treatment, according to a report circulated by the European Commission in July, with another negotiating round planned for the week of September 23.

News  |  September 19, 2019

Energy Charter Treaty: EU Council endorses negotiating directives for Brussels

The European Council has approved negotiating directives for the EU’s participation in talks to modernize the ECT, confirming its decision during a meeting on July 2, 2019.

News  |  June 27, 2019

EU Commission proposes negotiating directives for ECT modernization

The EC released on May 14 a set of draft negotiating directives setting out its proposed approach in “modernizing” the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

News  |  June 27, 2019

CJEU finds ICS in Canada–EU CETA to be in line with EU law

The CJEU has deemed that the ICS included in the Canada–EU CETA is consistent with EU law, issuing its final opinion on April 30, 2019.

News  |  June 27, 2019

China, EU leaders announce 2020 target for investment deal

Leaders from China and the EU have pledged to finalize negotiations for their Comprehensive Investment Agreement next year, announcing their target date and further details about the process during a summit in Brussels, Belgium, on April 9, 2019.

News  |  April 23, 2019

Achmea judgement fallout: 22 EU member states agree to terminate intra-EU BITs

Twenty-two EU member states endorsed a political declaration on January 15, 2019, where they announced a series of actions involving existing intra-EU BITs and upcoming or ongoing investment arbitration.

News  |  April 23, 2019

European Economic and Social Committee recommends improvements, clarifications for MIC discussions

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has weighed in on the European Commission’s recommendation for a European Council decision to launch negotiations on the proposed MIC, supporting discussions on ISDS reform while noting areas for improvement.

News  |  April 23, 2019

CJEU Advocate General finds ICS in line with EU law, final court ruling pending

CJEU Advocate General Yves Bot issued a non-binding opinion on January 29, 2019, deeming that the ICS included in the Canada–EU CETA is compatible with EU law. Bot assessed the ICS against the EU Treaty, the TFEU and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

News  |  April 23, 2019

New EU framework on foreign investment screening takes effect in April

The European Union’s new framework for screening FDI is due to take effect in April 2019, with the text now published in the EU’s Official Journal. The framework allows both EU member states and the European Commission until October 2020 to enact the changes required.

News  |  April 23, 2019

UNCITRAL Working Group III holds New York session

Delegates had a new round of deliberations for multilateral reform of ISDS at UNCITRAL from April 1 to 5. The meeting of Working Group III, which is tasked with this process, was held in New York.

News  |  December 21, 2018

European Union moves swiftly toward adopting regulation on screening foreign direct investment

On November 20, 2018, the European Parliament, Council and Commission reached political agreement on an EU framework for screening FDI, and on December 11, 2018, the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament endorsed the political agreement.

Achmea: The Beginning of the End for ISDS in and with Europe?

Current and future investment treaties and chapters involving EU member states or the Union itself may be profoundly impacted by a landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In this piece, the author explores the judgement from an EU constitutional point of view and analyzes potential consequences. Did the Achmea ruling come as a surprise to EU law insiders?

News  |  April 24, 2018

Council of the European Union adopts negotiating directives: EU Commission to negotiate a convention establishing a multilateral investment court

On March 20, 2018, the Council of the European Union adopted negotiating directives authorizing the European Commission to negotiate a convention establishing a multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes.

News  |  December 21, 2017

EU–Japan EPA negotiations finalized without investment; EU–Mexico updated FTA nears completion

On December 8, 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the finalization of the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Japan.

News  |  December 21, 2017

EU continues efforts toward establishing multilateral investment court, despite sharp criticism

Beyond advancing its Investment Court System (ICS) proposal in bilateral negotiations, the European Union continues its efforts toward establishing a multilateral investment court (MIC).

News  |  December 21, 2017

Belgium requests CJEU for an opinion on the compatibility of ICS in CETA with EU law

On September 6, 2017, Belgium submitted to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) a request for an opinion on the compatibility of the ICS with the European Treaties.

News  |  September 26, 2017

Canada–EU CETA to be provisionally applied as of September 21, 2017

After Canada’s ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) on May 17, 2017, Canada and the European Commission agreed to start the provisional application of the agreement on September 21, 2017.

News  |  September 26, 2017

EU and Japan reach agreement in principle on EPA; ISDS remains fully open

The European Union and Japan announced on July 6, 2017 that they reached an agreement in principle on the main elements of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Intra-EU Investment Protection: Up the Creek Without a Paddle

In theory, the common European market works based on principles that protect intra-EU cross-border investments. In practice, can these principles be reconciled with dozens of intra-EU BIT still in place?

News  |  June 12, 2017

EU General Court annuls Commission decision that refused registration of “Stop TTIP”

In September 2014, the European Commission refused to register a petition signed by over three million EU citizens requesting the Commission to stop trade and investment negotiations with the United States and refrain from concluding the CETA with Canada.

The Power to Conclude the New Generation of EU FTAs: AG Sharpston in Opinion 2/15

Can the European Union act alone in concluding agreements such as CETA and the EU–Singapore FTA? Or must EU member states also ratify them? ECJ Advocate General Sharpston discusses the allocation of powers in the field of investment under EU law.

News  |  March 13, 2017

CETA approved by EU Parliament; provisional application depends on ratification by Canada

On February 15, 2017, the European Parliament approved the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), signed by Canada and the European Union on October 30, 2016 after seven years of negotiations. The […]

News  |  March 13, 2017

European Union and Canada co-host discussions on a multilateral investment court

On December 13 and 14, 2016, the European Commission and the Canadian Government co-hosted exploratory discussions on establishing a multilateral investment court. Government representatives from several countries attended the closed-door meeting in […]