Intra-EU investment agreements and arbitration have been a highly divisive issue in European policy circles for decades. The European Commission has been forcefully pushing for the termination of these agreements since the early 2000s. It criticised inter alia that intra-EU investment agreements and arbitration undermine the European legal order and create inequality among European investors…

No doubt, the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) has become the hottest topic in the investment treaty arbitration world. Not only are EU Member States the most frequent respondent in ECT disputes – for example, the Netherlands has recently received its first ECT claim – but the ECT itself is currently in the middle of a…

On December 11, 2020, the Dispute Resolution Interest Group (“DRIG”) of the American Society of International Law (“ASIL”) hosted a webinar on “The Future of Investor-State Dispute Settlement under the Energy Charter Treaty.”  The event featured Amaia Rivas Kortazar, André von Walter, Crina Baltag, and Yuriy Pochtovyk, and was moderated by DRIG co-chairs Simon Batifort…

Following a highly-publicized diplomatic battle among the EU Member States (MS), the EU revealed in mid-February its proposal to amend the ECT’s definition of the “Economic Activity in the Energy Sector” (EAES). The announcement allayed fears of the intra-EU discussions on the matter falling apart. Insofar as it sets forth a vision for amendments that…

On 15 January 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“DC Circuit Court”) handed down its decision in LLC SPC Stileks v. Republic of Moldova, No. 19-7106 (D.C. Cir. 2021)—a case concerning the confirmation of an arbitral award against the Republic of Moldova. The US courts confirmed the award…

Swedish state-owned power energy company Vattenfall operated two nuclear power plants located in Brunsbüttel and Krümmel, Germany. Vattenfall owns a 50% interest in the Krümmel plant, and a 66.6% interest in the Brunsbüttel plant. In August 2011, against the backdrop of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the German Parliament amended the Act on the…

In the early 2000s, several European states introduced generous incentive programs to attract investors to renewable energy, triggering an investment boom. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008, however, the incentive payments put a strain on regulators. The subsequent changes to the regulations of the renewable energy sector implemented by Spain, Italy,…

Traditionally, one of the central pillars of the FET standard has been the protection of legitimate expectations. Legitimate expectations can be either based on a host state’s specific representations provided to the investor, or, under certain conditions, such expectation can be based on the regulatory framework that existed at the time of making the investment….

The Renewable Energy Target (RET), Australia’s key policy instrument for encouraging electricity generation from renewable sources, has been described as a policy hampered by politicisation. Notwithstanding such criticism, in 2019, it was reported that Australia’s energy system is undergoing the transition to renewables faster than any other country in the world. Against this backdrop, Australia…

COVID-19 has already destroyed many businesses, and insolvencies will only increase as governments withdraw temporary protections. Recent decisions highlight the potential for external administrators of these insolvent companies to use investment treaty arbitration to recover assets, even from the state that appointed the administrators. Generally, external administrators are appointed by directors, creditors or courts to…

Since Achmea there has been much debate on whether its reasoning invalidates ECT intra-EU investor state clauses as a matter of EU and international law. The recent AG’s Opinion in Cases C‑798/18 and C‑799/18 does not provide an answer to this question as a matter of EU law. A review of CJEU case law in…

On 3 December 2020, Belgium announced the submission of a request to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) for an opinion on whether the intra-European application of the arbitration provisions of the future modernised Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) are compatible with the EU Treaties. Belgium indicated that the purpose of its request…

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) has recently become a household name, moving from the oblivion of the 1990s, when the treaty was drafted, to one of the most hotly debated topics in legal (and other) circles nowadays. Some have demonized it as an instrument for the corporate usurpation of democratic functions, such as the host…

The signatories of the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) have begun the process of the Treaty’s modernisation. This is by no means a small task given the complexity of the Treaty’s scope which covers energy trading, efficiency, transit, investment protection and dispute resolution. Additionally, in order to amend it, all the signatories need to be on…

The investment protection mechanism in the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is meant to, among other things, promote, attract, and protect foreign investments in the member states’ energy sectors. In 2018, the Energy Charter Conference announced its list of approved topics for the modernization of the ECT. The list included several substantive investment protection provisions. This…

Denial of benefits clauses (DoB) have gained considerable traction in the past prolific years of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), and more specifically, with the growing number of Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) arbitrations. UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Hub still lists a considerably small number of international investment agreements (IIAs) providing for DoB: little above 200 which would…

Modernisation of any multilateral treaty is a category of tasks on its own. There are several prerequisites which shall be in place, apart from obsolete language and provisions. The most crucial element is a steady political will of a critical mass of countries based on the strong motivation, which will break inertia and create new…

After the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) rendered the Achmea decision, heated discussions on its impact ensued. Particularly, the concern raised on whether the ICSID proceeding provided for in intra-EU BITs and intra-EU disputes under the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) would be valid. Several arbitral tribunals and national courts have dealt with…

The Paris Court of Appeal has recently sought a preliminary ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the interpretation of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in the ongoing Republic of Moldova v. Komstroy case.   A 20-Year-Old Tale The Republic of Moldova v. Komstroy case highlights the contradicting approaches to…

Introduction On the 18th of February, the Court of Appeal in The Hague reversed the lower court’s decision annulling the awards rendered against the Russian Federation in Veteran Petroleum Ltd., Yukos Universal Ltd. and Hulley Enterprises Ltd. cases. The awards are thus revived. Notwithstanding the global notoriety and public controversy, the identity of the protagonists,…

The recently leaked treaty for the termination of intra-EU BITs can be seen as the culmination of an ongoing effort by the European Commission to discourage investment arbitration between Member States, reflecting, in the eyes of many, a tension between public international law and EU law. In spite of this, and even after the Court…

Alejandro, thank you for joining us on the Kluwer Arbitration Blog! We are delighted to have the opportunity to interview you at a time when the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and its modernisation are on the spotlight. Alejandro is the current General Counsel and Head of the Conflict Resolution Centre at the ECT Secretariat, which…

The Cold War era brought to life, in a strange way, a number of all-encompassing treaties dealing with major subjects such as international treaty-making, diplomatic relations, law of seas, etc. Even among the topics covered by these treaties were enforcement of foreign arbitral awards and investment disputes. However, it seems like the world has already…

The tendency of arbitral tribunals constituted under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) to reject intra-EU jurisdictional objections, despite contrary views expressed by most EU member states, was recently continued in the case of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) and others v. Kingdom of Spain (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/45). The decision made by an ICSID tribunal over a…