Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the investment policy is an exclusive competence of the European Union. The EU is aiming to include therefore in the new trade and investment agreements provisions on investor protection and investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) which will replace existing Bilateral Investment Agreements (BIT) signed by Member States and will grant the same level of protection to all EU investors.
Despite the fact that most of the BITs singed by Member States include provisions on ISDS, the fact that the mandate unanimously given by EU Member States to the European Commission in June 2013 on TTIP includes the possibility for the European Commission to negotiate ISDS provisions in the Transatlantic trade and investment agreement (TTIP) provoked unprecedented public interest. In response to this interest the European Commission launched a public consultation on Investor protection and ISDS in the TTIP. Similar provisions are also currently negotiated with Japan and have been negotiated with Canada. Negotiations on an investment agreement with China is also under negotiation. Therefore, it is important to prepare an opinion of the Committee on this subject in order to define the Committee policy on investment protection and ISDS in trade and investment agreement.
The objective is also to evaluate if this mechanism should be included in all investment agreements and ensure that if investment protection and ISDS provisions are included in new agreements , they represents an improvement in comparison to the provisions in existing BIT and clearly guarantees the right of governments to legislate in the public interest while also protecting the rights of investors. It is also important to clarify how the system will be more transparent and will prevent any unjustified abuses of the ISDS.