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Investment | Brussels, 18 January 2019

The EU moves forward efforts at UN on multilateral reform of ISDS

Today, the EU and its Member States submitted two papers to the UN Working Group under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The Working Group has been tasked with examining reform of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).

At its last meeting, the Chairman had asked participating countries to submit proposals for the future work plan and for concrete reform options. The proposals by the EU and its Member States and by other countries will be discussed at the next meeting of the Working Group from 1 to 5 April 2019.

The first EU paper sets out the EU’s proposal of establishing a permanent multilateral investment court with an appeal mechanism and full-time adjudicators. The EU views this as the only reform option that can effectively respond to all the concerns identified in this UN process as it would:

  • enhance the predictability and consistency of decisions and ensure their correctness,
  • eliminate the ethical concerns of the current system, and
  • effectively address the problems of excessive costs and duration.

The second paper makes proposals for an effective work plan so that the Working Group develops concrete solutions and text proposals to be adopted by the UNCITRAL Commission and ultimately the UN General Assembly. The EU papers are a contribution to a multilateral discussion on ISDS reform with broad and inclusive participation of all countries and stakeholders. The EU is looking forward to continuing the discussion on the basis of these and other ideas at the next meeting of the UNCITRAL Working Group in April this year.

The reports of the meetings of the Working Group are available on the UNCITRAL website.