EU and Investment Agreements - Open Questions and Remaining Challenges

With the Treaty of Lisbon the regulation of international investments has taken on a new dimension. The competence of the EU-Member States to conclude bilateral investment treaties will now be transferred to the EU. Through these modifications the EU has obtained the power to conduct a coherent international investment policy as a part of its common commercial policy. These and related questions were discussed on the occasion of the Conference “EU and Investment Agreements: Open Questions and remaining Challenges” which took place on Monday, 18 June 2012 at the Law School of the University of Vienna. The Conference was organized by Prof. August Reinisch together with Prof. Marc Bungenberg of the University of Siegen and Prof. Christian Tietje of the University of Halle in association with the „Canada – EU Strategic Knowledge Cluster“.

11 investment law experts dealt with questions surrounding the topic “EU and Investment Agreements”. More than 90 participants including attorneys, representatives of the EU institutions and international organizations joined in an intensive discussion.

The conference focused on discussing the EU competence for negotiating EU investment agreements with third countries, the role of dispute settlement in future EU investment agreements as well the status of investment insurance systems of the EU Member States.

Colin Brown (EU Commission, DG Trade) started off with a discussion of „Dispute Settlement in Future EU Investment Agreements“, Stephan Schill (MPI Heidelberg) addressed the issue of „Limits on Investor-State Dispute Settlement under Future EU Investment Agreements“, Richard Happ (Luther) treated the theme „Allocation of Responsibility between EU and Member States“, Frank Hoffmeister talked about „From BITs and Pieces towards European Investment Agreements“. With Céline Lévesque (University of Ottawa) and Armand de Mestral (McGill University) the focus moved to the Canadian practice concerning BITs. Other speakers discussed the following issues: „The Potential EU/China BIT: Issues and Implications“ (Shen Zhang, University of Cambridge), „The Role of Member States in Negotiating and Concluding EU Investment Agreements” (André von Walter, EU Commission, DG Trade), “The remaining decisive role of Member States in negotiating and concluding EU Investment Agreements” (Nikos Lavranos, Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Hague). Finally Joachim Steffens (BMWT, Berlin) and Angelos Dimopoulos (University of Tilburg) introduced the theme „EU Investment Insurance System“. The conference was concluded by remarks bof Prof. Marc Bungenberg, who highlighted the rich discussion on a broad range of topics related to EU and investment agreements and expressed the hope that the conference would catalyze further academic and professional cooperation among the participants in the future.