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Belgium asks European Court of Justice to opine on compatibility of Energy Charter Treaty’s investor-State arbitration provisions with EU law

On 3 December 2020, the Government of Belgium announced that it was submitting a request to the Court of Justice of the European Union for an opinion on ‘the compatibility of the intra-European application of the arbitration provisions of the future modernised Energy Charter Treaty with the European Treaties.’ This is major news, potentially sounding the death knell for the settlement of intra-EU investor-State disputes through treaty arbitration. The arbitration of investor-State disputes under intra-EU BITs was held incompatible with EU law by the CJEU in its 2018 Achmea judgment. The Agreement for the termination of Bilateral Investment Treaties between the Member States of the European Union adopted by 23 Member States in May this year seeks to terminate the remaining intra-EU BITs and their ‘sunset clauses’, as well as to prevent investors in pending and new arbitration proceedings from relying on their protections. The ECT, to which the EU and all its Member States bar one (Italy having withdrawn from the Treaty at the beginning of 2016) are parties,…

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Why it is so Hard to Hold Frontex Accountable: On Blame-Shifting and an Outdated Remedies System

On Friday 23 October, a joint investigation conducted by Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD, and TV Asahi revealed that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has been complicit in human rights violations at the Greek maritime border. Videos and satellite photos show how arriving migrant boats are forced to turn back…

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To CETA or not to CETA: Reflections on ISDS and the special responsibility of national parliaments

In a reaction to an EJIL: Talk! post by Baetens et al., Arcuri et al. claim that the Dutch parliament has the right to reject CETA and also argue in favour of it doing so. The post by Arcuri et al. raises important points that merit further discussion, among legal academics and practitioners, politicians, and citizens.

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Europe Must Learn Quickly to Speak the Language of Power: Part II

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission of the European Union – the EU’s foreign affairs chief and effectively the ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs of the EU’ – completes in these days his first year in office. He granted this interview to Professor J.H.H Weiler, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the European…

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Europe Must Learn Quickly to Speak the Language of Power: Part I

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission of the European Union – the EU’s foreign affairs chief and effectively the ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs of the EU’ – completes in these days his first year in office. He granted this interview to Professor J.H.H Weiler, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the European…

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