This article analyzes new developments in the interaction between international investment law and EU law. The analysis focuses on the consequences resulting from the recent changes that have been introduced by the Lisbon Treaty and the jurisprudence of the ECJ. The author argues that the new exclusive competence of the EU regarding foreign direct investment (FDI) will have major implications for the existing Member States’ BITs as well as for the interaction with international investment law. While it is too early for a full assessment of this new situation, it has already become clear that the European institutions and the supremacy of EU law will significantly reduce the powers of the Member States, thereby fundamentally changing the current situation. Throughout this process, ensuring legal security for investors and Contracting Parties will become of utmost importance.
With Opinion 1/17, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) approved the Investment Court System (ICS) contained in the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. This means that the EU can proceed with the ratification process of the investment protection part of CETA and the other free trade agreements it has concluded, and which contain a similar ICS. However, as the author illustrates, the approval of the ICS is conditioned by a complete isolation of EU law from international investment law. More specifically, the CJEU made clear that the ceta tribunals operate outside the EU legal order and have no power to interpret or apply EU law. At the same time, the CJEU highlighted the importance that the ceta Parties adopt supplemental rules for reducing the financial burden for access to the ICS for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMES). Additionally, the CJEU rejected the currently existing possibility that binding joint interpretations of the ceta Parties could have retroactive effect. In sum, the approval of the ICS by the CJEU enables the European Commission to continue to develop the multilateral investment court (MIC) within the uncitral Working Group iii as long as it follows the blueprint of the CETA ICS.