Motion for a resolution - B7-0214/2012Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the legal security of European investments outside the European Union

18.4.2012 - (2012/2619(RSP))

to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and the Commission
pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock, Robert Sturdy on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0214/2012

Procedure : 2012/2619(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the legal security of European investments outside the European Union


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 207 of the TFUE,

–   having regard to its adopted report on 29 March 2010 regarding the Strategic bi-regional association between the EU and Latin America,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Article 207 of the TFUE states that European investments in third countries are a fundamental element of the Common Trade Policy of the European Union and are consequently an intrinsic part of the external action policy, and that after the entering into force of the TFUE are a matter of exclusive competence of the EU;

B.  whereas the announcement made by the government of the Republic of Argentina of sending a draft law to its Congress in order to validate the expropriation of 51 % of the shares of the hydrocarbons corporation YPF, owned in its majority by a European company whose shares are precisely the object of the proposed expropriation;

C. whereas the above-mentioned announcement was simultaneously presented with an effective and immediate takeover of the company’s main offices by the authorities of the Argentinean federal government, forcing the legitimate management and designated personnel of the above-mentioned enterprise to leave the premises;

D. whereas over the last months, the company has been the target of a public harassment campaign that may have, together with many administrative decisions, contributed to the loss of the value of its shares;

E.  whereas the European Commission has expressed its concerns on many occasions to the WTO with regard to the nature and application of the restrictive measures applied to imports by the Argentinean government which have affected an ever-growing number of countries that are part of the World Trade Organisation;

F.  whereas on 30 March 2012, the EU along with the United States and 10 other countries at the WTO expressed in a written their statement their continuing and deepening concerns regarding the nature and application of restrictive trade-measures taken by Argentina, which are adversely affecting imports into Argentina from many EU Member States and negatively impacting EU firms; whereas some EU Member States, such as the UK, have been more affected than others, with Government placing significant pressure on domestic business to avoid engaging in commercial activity on account of political considerations;

G. whereas in March the United States threatened to suspend Argentina’s trade preferences under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme in response to Argentina’s failure to pay more than USD 300 million dollars in compensation awards in two disputes involving American investors;

H. whereas the Republic of Argentina, being a member of MERCOSUR, is currently part of the negotiation process of an Association Agreement with the EU that has as one of its objectives the progressive and reciprocal liberalisation of trade, and where agricultural, service and investment offers of both sides will play a major role in the success of the negotiations;

I.   whereas the Republic of Argentina has traditionally been benefiting from the general system of preferences (GSP) unilaterally given by the EU;

1.  Deplores the decision taken by the Argentinean government to proceed with the expropriation of the majority of the shares of a European company, as it represents a questionable decision referring to a de facto confiscatory nature that entails an attack on the exercise of free enterprise and the principle of legal certainty with regard to investments and the deterioration of the investment environment for Europe in Argentina;

2.  Expresses its deepest concerns with respect to the decision taken as it represents a violation of international law and Argentina’s WTO commitments; warns about the possible negative consequences that these types of unilateral measures imply in terms of delocalisation of international investment outside of Argentina, while foreign and especially EU FDI is crucially needed for the country’s development and the risk this represents in terms of provoking adverse consequences to international trade; recalls in this respect, the similarity of this case with other instances where EU interests have expropriated in other parts of the world;

3.  Recalls the traditional friendship between the EU and the Republic of Argentina, with whom it shares common values and principles, and urges the Argentinean authorities to return to an environment of dialogue and negotiations as the most appropriate way to resolve possible differences between strategic trade partners;

4.  Recalls that the ongoing negotiations of the Association Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR have the objective of achieving a framework of economic integration and political dialogue among both blocks in order to achieve the highest degree of progress and prosperity for both regions, and that decisions such as those taken by the Argentinean authorities do not favour the climate of understanding and friendship needed in order to achieve such an agreement;

5.  Calls on the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the CFSP to intervene before the Argentinean authorities in defence of the Community interest and to safeguard the principle of legal certainty which guarantees European presence and investment in the country;

6.  Urges the European Commission to explore and, where appropriate, adopt measures needed to safeguard the EU’s interests in Argentina order to avoid similar situations that may arise in the future; in this regard, expresses solidarity with the plight of Repsol;

7.  Requests the President of the European Commission to intervene in the G20 and the WTO expressing EU concerns, and stating that these actions represent a blatant infringement of the international obligations of a member state with regard to one of its members in both organisations;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the government and Congress of the Republic of Argentina and the members of the Council of MERCOSUR.