Update: New Public Consultation On Shaping European Investment Dispute Resolution Policy

The European Commission (EC) has launched a new public consultation on the EU’s investment dispute resolution policy along with the options for multilateral reform, including the possible establishment of a permanent multilateral investment court.

The EC is now calling for comments on its most recent proposals, urging members of the mediation, conflict management and dispute resolution community to participate in the process.

Following an earlier consultation on the topic in 2014, the EC published a concept paper in May 2015 on potential improvements to the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) (see also Cecilia Malmström’s concept paper on reform of ISDS in the TTIP).

Investment court system

Several months later, the EC put forward a proposal to replace the existing ISDS provisions with a new investment court system, for all ongoing and future trade and investment negotiations between the EU and other states. This sent a strong message to the dispute resolution community, in an effort to address growing public opposition to investor state arbitration.

The following year, the EC published an Inception Impact Assessment on a proposal for a Council Decision authorising the EC to negotiate a Convention, in order to establish a multilateral investment court. The questionnaire, which particularly seeks views on the options for a multilateral investment court, is to be read in light of the Impact Assessment report.

However, what does this new consultation mean and where are TTIP negotiations heading in light of the new US presidency?

Hanging in the balance

With the future of many multilateral trade agreements uncertain under the new US administration, there are concerns as to what this means for the EU’s trade policy as a whole. It remains to be seen if the US will pull out of TTIP, as it has done with the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The new administration’s attitude to European unity in general is also a little disconcerting. Trump’s trade advisor recently accused Germany of grossly undervaluing the Euro to gain an unfair trade advantage, however Chancellor Angela Merkel has