The European Commission should use all appropriate dispute settlement tools available at the WTO and G20 to respond to Argentina's "unilateral and arbitrary" decision to expropriate the YPF energy company, says a resolution adopted by Parliament on Friday. MEPs deplore the action and call on the Commission and Council to explore any measures to avoid such situations in the future, including the partial suspension of tariff preferences.
The Argentine authorities should "return to the path of dialogue and negotiation", says the resolution, tabled by the EPP, S&D, ALDE, ECR and EFD groups, pointing out that Argentina's "unilateral and arbitrary" decision amounts to an attack on the exercise of the free enterprise and the principle of legal certainty, "thus causing the investment environment for EU businesses in Argentina to deteriorate". The text was adopted by 458 votes in favour, 71 against and 16 abstentions.
MEPs call on the European Council, the European Commission and the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton to make every effort to defend Europe's presence and investments in the country. Trade Commissioner De Gucht and High Representative Ashton should also use "all diplomatic avenues available" to solve this situation with their Argentine counterparts.
Parliament expresses its deep concerns regarding the situation, as it represents the "non-fulfilment of obligations under international agreements", and warns that it may have negative effects such as international disinvestment and adverse consequences for Argentina in the international community.
Additionally, MEPs note that this decision affects only one company in the sector (the Spanish energy firm Repsol) and only part of its shares, "which could be considered discriminatory", they say.
EU-Mercosur association agreement
The European Parliament says the EU and Mercosur need to approach ongoing Association Agreement negotiations in a spirit of openness and mutual trust. Decisions such as that taken by the Argentine authorities "can put a strain on the climate of understanding and friendship needed to reach such an agreement", says the adopted text.
On 16 April Argentina's government announced its decision to table a draft law in its Congress to expropriate 51% of the shares in the YPF hydrocarbons corporation, which is majority-owned by Spanish energy company Repsol. This announcement was accompanied by the immediate takeover of the company’s main offices by the Argentine authorities, evicting the management and designated personnel of the company from the premises.
Over the last few months, the company has been the target of a "public harassment campaign that, together with many decisions taken by the administrative authorities, has resulted in the loss in value of its shares", says the adopted text.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution