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United States | Brussels, 6 May 2015

Commissioner Malmström consulted the European Parliament on reforms of investment dispute resolution in TTIP and beyond

Today, EU Trade Commissioner Malmström discussed with the Members of the European Parliament her new ideas for a reformed investor dispute resolution mechanism in TTIP and beyond. The reform proposal is outlined in the paper which was shared both with the European Parliament and the Member States. The consultations, including the Commissioner's speech, started at 16.30 and were webstreamed.

Strengthening governments' right to regulate, making arbitral tribunals operate more like traditional court systems with a clear code of conduct for arbitrators, and guaranteeing access to an appeals system are just a few examples of concrete proposals on how to improve the EU's approach to investment protection in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and in future EU trade agreements. The paper also proposes to work towards establishment of a permanent multilateral Investment Court.

In a blog post this week, Commissioner Malmström wrote: 'I have heard many concerns about traditional ISDS and, to a large extent, I share these concerns. The traditional ISDS system it is not fit for purpose in the 21st century. I want the rule of law, not the rule of lawyers.' She added: 'My new reform proposal brings solutions to various concerns and represents a break with practises of the past. I look forward to discussing the new approach with the Members of the European Parliament in the INTA Committee today and with EU Ministers on Thursday.'

The orientations set out in the paper respond to the four areas for further reflection, identified based on the results of the public consultation held between 27 March and 13 July 2014. The areas where particular concerns were raised and where further improvements to the EU’s approach were to be explored are: i) the protection of the right to regulate; ii) the establishment and functioning of arbitral tribunals; iii) the review of ISDS decisions through an appellate mechanism; iv) the relationship between domestic judicial systems and ISDS.

The paper contains a possible way forward for each area. These changes are intended to be an integral part of the EU’s investment policy for TTIP and future EU investment agreements but also the stepping stones towards a permanent multilateral system for investment disputes.

Therefore, in parallel, the paper suggests that the EU should initiate work on the future creation of an international permanent investment court with a multilateral appellate mechanism. This approach also responds to requests that have come out strongly in the public debate.

Next steps

The paper reflects the substance and elaborates on the ideas presented by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to the European Parliament (18 March) and the EU Trade ministers (25 March).

Commissioner Malmström will discuss these proposals also with the EU Trade ministers on 7 May 2015 in order to invite their views on policy orientations both for the TTIP negotiations and in terms of general EU investment policy, including in relation to further work towards a permanent Investment Court.
 

Useful Links

Speech
Webstream of the debate
Blog post 'Investments in TTIP and beyond - towards an International Investment Court'
European Commission’s paper “Investment in TTIP and beyond: the path for reform”
Other languages available: DE, FR