Today, the committee on International Trade of the European Parliament confirmed a compromise on transitional arrangements for bilateral investment agreements between member states and third countries. The compromise was reached in so called ‘trilog negotiations’ where Members of Parliament, the Council and the Commission meet to find agreement on remaining contentious issues. I represented the ALDE group in these negotiations.
ALDE published a press release on the results and the implications of the vote:
“Investment in third countries: Avoiding another YPF-Repsol affair
The agreement sealed today between the Council and European Parliament, through its International Trade Committee, will permit the European Commission to be more reactive in protecting the interests of European companies in third countries. This regulation facilitates transitional arrangements enabling Member States to conclude bilateral investment agreements with third countries provided that the Commission is involved, in accordance with the Lisbon Treaty, which gives the Union exclusive competence in matters of direct foreign investment, as part of the common trade policy.
Silvana Koch-Mehrin (FDP, Germany): “Bilateral Investment agreements are essential for ensuring that investments by European companies in third countries are protected from expropriation. With today’s decision, more than 1200 investment protection agreements between EU Member States and third countries are adopted under EU law. The agreement strikes a good balance between the necessary protection of European investment in the world and the development of a common EU investment policy.”
“The need to create a common EU investment policy has been demonstrated once more by the nationalisation of the Spanish shares in YPF Repsol by the Argentinian government. The EU has been unable to speak with one voice and could not throw its collective weight against the actions of the Argentinian government because it did not have the tools available. Under the Lisbon Treaty this is now possible and the deal on this regulation removes one of the final hurdles to making a common EU investment policy a reality”.
The European Parliament should formally endorse this agreement at the first reading during the June plenary session (June 11 to 14).”