Response to the EC’s public consultation on a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution

15 March 2017

Consultation response

Brussels, 15 March 2017 – Finance Watch today submitted its response to the European Commission’s public consultation on a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution.

Finance Watch’s Acting Secretary General, Benoît Lallemand, said

“We support the improvement of existing EU arrangements on investor protection, for example with an appeals mechanism, although investor-state dispute settlement systems should be excluded from trade agreements between countries with advanced legal systems. Further more, we would support a multilateral approach to investor dispute settlement but only if international trade and investment rules can be rebalanced to protect and promote general interest regulation first.”

Key points:

  • Investment disputes involving countries with advanced legal systems do not need a special disputes system as they can use the national court systems.
  • The status quo of bilateral ISDS arrangements raises serious concerns about coherence of interpretation and procedural fairness.
  • For existing bilateral investor dispute settlement systems, these concerns could be partly addressed by creating a permanent appeals mechanism with recourse to the Court of Justice of the EU.
  • Before designing a Multilateral Investment Court system, we need to agree multilateral rules on the substance of investment protection and make sure they include key elements of responsible business conduct and stronger safeguards for general interest regulation.
  • A Multilateral Investment Court system may not be compatible with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the supremacy of European law.

Click here to download the introductory statement to our response.

Click here for details of the consultation.