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Multilateral Investment Court: Overview of the reform proposals and prospects

28-01-2020

The Council of the European Union has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States at the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and hosting states, and relies on arbitration procedures. However, there have been growing concerns among states ...

The Council of the European Union has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States at the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and hosting states, and relies on arbitration procedures. However, there have been growing concerns among states and stakeholders about the system's reliance on arbitrators, given its lack of transparency, issues over the predictability and consistency of their decisions, and the excessive costs involved. UNCITRAL talks aim to address these concerns by reforming the system. The EU and its Member States support the establishment of a multilateral investment court (MIC), composed of a first instance and an appellate tribunal staffed by full-time adjudicators. UNCITRAL talks on ISDS reform started in 2017. In April 2019, the working group finalised the list of concerns regarding the current ISDS system and agreed that it was desirable to work on reforms. The states then tabled reform proposals that provided the framework for the discussions that started in October 2019. The proposals range from introducing binding rules for arbitrators to setting up formal investment courts comprised of first instance and appellate tribunals. All in all, the proposals reflect two distinct approaches. Some states back the creation of tools – such as a code of conduct and/or an advisory body for smaller economies and small and medium-sized enterprises – to complement the current system. Others favour fundamental changes through the creation of a two-court system with appointed members. The latest round of talks took place in January 2020, and another is scheduled for March/April 2020. Although states are eager to reform the ISDS system, the complexity of the issue is likely to require additional sessions before agreement can be reached.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, December 2018

14-12-2018

The December plenary session was marked by the terrorist attack that took place in Strasbourg on 11 December. Members had that very day debated the report of Parliament's Special Committee on Terrorism, concluding its year's work. The December plenary session also featured debates on the preparations for the same week's European Council and Euro Summit meetings, as well as on the future of Europe, with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus. Parliament awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize for freedom ...

The December plenary session was marked by the terrorist attack that took place in Strasbourg on 11 December. Members had that very day debated the report of Parliament's Special Committee on Terrorism, concluding its year's work. The December plenary session also featured debates on the preparations for the same week's European Council and Euro Summit meetings, as well as on the future of Europe, with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus. Parliament awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought to the imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker, Oleg Sentsov, and adopted a report on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Parliament adopted the EU's 2019 budget, and held debates and voted on proposals on a digital services tax; risk assessment in the food chain; risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work; revision of the statutes of three EU agencies; as well as an own initiative legislative report on expedited settlement of commercial disputes. Finally, Parliament adopted positions on seven of the three dozen proposed funding programmes for the 2021-2027 period, enabling negotiations with the Council to be launched.

Expedited settlement of commercial disputes in the European Union

05-12-2018

The EU legal services market is the second largest in the world. Commercial, business to business (B2B) litigation is one of the largest segments of the legal services market. The EU measures on choice of law, choice of forum and enforcement proved to be successful in supporting EU competitiveness. However, to enhance competitiveness of the EU litigation market and ensure further growth, a set of EU measures to simplify and expedite settlement of commercial disputes is needed. The EU measures should ...

The EU legal services market is the second largest in the world. Commercial, business to business (B2B) litigation is one of the largest segments of the legal services market. The EU measures on choice of law, choice of forum and enforcement proved to be successful in supporting EU competitiveness. However, to enhance competitiveness of the EU litigation market and ensure further growth, a set of EU measures to simplify and expedite settlement of commercial disputes is needed. The EU measures should focus on the enhancement of procedural efficiency, among other things, by taking action to reduce length of procedure. The 2018 European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) suggests that the EU actions to expedite settlement of commercial disputes could generate European added value for the EU economy and businesses in the range of 4.6 to 5.7 billion EUR annually. The European added value can be created through increase in direct contribution of litigation services revenues to the EU economy and through reduction of opportunity costs to business associated with length of judicial proceedings.

Mediation Directive 2008/52/EC

15-11-2018

Mediation Directive 2008/52/EC defines the procedure of environmental impact assessment. It intends to facilitate access to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and to promote the amicable settlement of disputes, while encouraging the use of mediation. The directive applies to cross-border disputes in civil, including family law, and commercial matters. This note provides a brief overview of its implementation.

Mediation Directive 2008/52/EC defines the procedure of environmental impact assessment. It intends to facilitate access to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and to promote the amicable settlement of disputes, while encouraging the use of mediation. The directive applies to cross-border disputes in civil, including family law, and commercial matters. This note provides a brief overview of its implementation.

COLLECTIVE REDRESS IN THE MEMBER STATES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

03-10-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Legal Affairs, aims to assess the current state of play of collective redress at national and European levels, evaluate the opportunity of a European intervention in the matter and provide the European Parliament with concrete recommendations. Both the assessment and the recommendations have been drafted keeping in mind the essential issue raised ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Legal Affairs, aims to assess the current state of play of collective redress at national and European levels, evaluate the opportunity of a European intervention in the matter and provide the European Parliament with concrete recommendations. Both the assessment and the recommendations have been drafted keeping in mind the essential issue raised by collective redress: access to justice. This principle, which is essential in a Union enforcing the rule of law, is currently challenged by the existing divergences. As such the creation of harmonised collective redress mechanism is becoming an increasingly pressing matter.

Външен автор

Rafael AMARO, Associate Professor at the University Paris-Descartes, France Maria José AZAR-BAUD, Associate Professor at Paris-Sud University, France Sabine CORNELOUP, Professor at the University Paris II Panthéon-Assas, France Bénédicte FAUVARQUE-COSSON, Professor at the University Paris II Panthéon-Assas, France Fabienne JAULT-SESEKE, Professor at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France

International Agreements in Progress - EU-Japan trade agreement: a driver for closer cooperation beyond trade

09-07-2018

Negotiations on an EU-Japan trade agreement were officially launched in March 2013. Following the political agreement in principle reached in July 2017, a final accord on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was announced in December 2017. On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the European Union to sign and conclude the agreement. The Commission expects that the EU-Japan EPA can be signed in July 2018, and aims to have the agreement come into effect before ...

Negotiations on an EU-Japan trade agreement were officially launched in March 2013. Following the political agreement in principle reached in July 2017, a final accord on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was announced in December 2017. On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the European Union to sign and conclude the agreement. The Commission expects that the EU-Japan EPA can be signed in July 2018, and aims to have the agreement come into effect before the end of its mandate in 2019, following approval by the Council and the European Parliament. The EU-Japan EPA will establish a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers that accounts for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The 2016 Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (Trade SIA) of the agreement indicated that EU exports to Japan could rise by up to 34 %, and according to a more recent Commission estimate, European companies would save up to €1 billion in customs duties per year as a result of the EU-Japan EPA. In addition to exploiting the untapped potential of bilateral trade, the agreement is also of strategic importance, conveying a strong message of the parties' commitment to promoting a free and fair trading system based on rules, and to reject trade protectionism. [Second] edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 589.828, 7 october 2016.

Trade and sustainable development chapters in CETA

20-01-2017

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), signed in October 2016, is currently at the ratification stage. This agreement, concluded between like-minded trade partners, represents the new generation of EU free trade agreements (FTAs), and contains chapters covering sustainable development. The inclusion by the EU of sustainable development chapters in FTAs concluded with its partners plays a role in ensuring that trade and investment liberalisation does not lead to a deterioration ...

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), signed in October 2016, is currently at the ratification stage. This agreement, concluded between like-minded trade partners, represents the new generation of EU free trade agreements (FTAs), and contains chapters covering sustainable development. The inclusion by the EU of sustainable development chapters in FTAs concluded with its partners plays a role in ensuring that trade and investment liberalisation does not lead to a deterioration in environmental and labour conditions. In keeping with this trade policy practice, developed over the years, trade-related sustainability provisions, including labour and environmental considerations, are grouped in three chapters (Chapters 22 to 24) within CETA. CETA has only partially exceeded the dialogue-only approach contained in earlier EU trade agreements and has maintained the exclusion of trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapters from the scope of the state-to-state dispute settlement (SSDS) procedure. It also maintains an ad hoc two-stage dispute resolution mechanism already found in the EU-South Korea FTA. However, this mechanism does not include sanctions and focuses on mutually agreed solutions to problems. This choice by the EU is due to the still strongly cooperative nature of the TSD chapters. On CETA please refer also to the 'International Agreements in Progress' briefing on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada by Wilhelm Schöllmann.

New EU-wide online dispute resolution platform

16-02-2016

A new web-based platform, which became available on 15 February 2016 in all EU languages, will provide an easy, fast and inexpensive way to assist in resolving disputes between online buyers and traders. The platform is managed by the European Commission. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

A new web-based platform, which became available on 15 February 2016 in all EU languages, will provide an easy, fast and inexpensive way to assist in resolving disputes between online buyers and traders. The platform is managed by the European Commission. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Europeanisation of civil procedure: Towards common minimum standards?

11-06-2015

The free movement of judgments in the European Area of Justice presupposes a high level of mutual trust between the judiciaries of the Member States. From the citizens' perspective, the key issue is the balancing of the fundamental rights of claimants and defendants, i.e. the right of access to justice (to pursue a claim) and the rights of the defence. Mutual trust in judiciaries can be built in various ways. First of all, through the creation of uniform European procedures in the form of optional ...

The free movement of judgments in the European Area of Justice presupposes a high level of mutual trust between the judiciaries of the Member States. From the citizens' perspective, the key issue is the balancing of the fundamental rights of claimants and defendants, i.e. the right of access to justice (to pursue a claim) and the rights of the defence. Mutual trust in judiciaries can be built in various ways. First of all, through the creation of uniform European procedures in the form of optional instruments, which lead to the pronouncement of judgments on the basis of common rules of procedure. Secondly, sector-specific harmonisation of procedural law is possible, addressing civil procedure in the context of other policy areas, such as intellectual property, competition law or consumer protection. Thirdly, horizontal harmonisation of civil procedure by way of directives is also possible. Up to now, only selected and rather narrow areas of civil procedure have been addressed in this manner. However, a more ambitious project has been launched by the European Law Institute (ELI) in collaboration with the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit), aimed at elaborating European rules of civil procedure. These rules, once finalised, could be the basis of a future directive on minimum standards of civil procedure in the EU.

Reform of the European Small Claims Procedure

20-05-2015

The European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP) became operational on 1 January 2009, as a special, EU-wide procedure available both to consumers and traders for pursuing cross-border claims within the Internal Market of a value not exceeding €2 000. During the first five years of its existence, however, the ESCP has been used only rarely. In 2013, the Commission proposed to amend the ESCP Regulation, to raise the ceiling for claims to €10 000, expand the definition of a 'cross-border case', increase ...

The European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP) became operational on 1 January 2009, as a special, EU-wide procedure available both to consumers and traders for pursuing cross-border claims within the Internal Market of a value not exceeding €2 000. During the first five years of its existence, however, the ESCP has been used only rarely. In 2013, the Commission proposed to amend the ESCP Regulation, to raise the ceiling for claims to €10 000, expand the definition of a 'cross-border case', increase the use of electronic communication, introduce a ceiling on court fees (10% of the claim's value) and oblige Member States to accept payment of court fees in electronic form. In April 2015, Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee adopted its report. It proposes to rename the procedure the 'European Simplified Procedure' and raise the ceiling for claims to €5 000 against natural persons, and €10 000 against legal persons. It is against weakening the cross-border requirement, but would allow claims under labour law and privacy law to be included in the regulation. The Committee would also lower the ceiling for court fees from 10% to 5% of the claim's value. A more recent edition of this document is available. Find it by searching by the document title at this address: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/home.html

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