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Parliamentary questions
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16 March 2016
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-000698/2016

Under international law the state is responsible for the acts of its constituent authorities at all levels of government. This fundamental principle is reflected in the horizontal definitions included in the EU's proposal to the US on Services, Investment and E-commerce which states that ‛measures adopted or maintained by a Party’ means measures taken by governments and authorities at all levels.(1) In this respect, the Commission notes that the specific provision to which the question refers to prohibits expropriation of investment, when such expropriation does not take place for a public purpose, against compensation or under due process of law or when it is discriminatory. Annex I provides further clarifications on the meaning of direct and indirect expropriation.

Equivalent disciplines protecting the right to property are part of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. On 1 December 2009, with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Charter became legally binding on the EU institutions and on national governments, just like the EU Treaties themselves. In consequence, it is theoretically difficult to construct a case where a local government would lawfully expropriate property under EC law, while the same act would qualify as unlawful expropriation under an EU-level investment agreement, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.


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