International Economic Law

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Germany’s Trusteeship over Gazprom Germania: A Brewing Expropriation Claim?

Background If it were not so serious, it would be funny: In March 2022, the part-time DJ and fledgling YouTuber Dmitry Tseplyaev (purportedly) became the ultimate controller of Gazprom’s gas-distribution network and gas-storage facilities in Germany. The German authorities did not see any humour in this situation. On 4 April 2022, they imposed a trusteeship over Gazprom Germania GmbH (‘Gazprom Germania’) until 30 September 2022. Germany now controls all of Gazprom Germania’s Germany-located assets. How did it come to this? When the ownership structure behind Gazprom Germania changed, Germany was not formally notified of this change, although it later became aware of it. It did not like what it discovered. The shares in Gazprom Germania had been sold to Gazprom Export Business Services LLC (‘Gazprom Export’). It owned 99.9% of itself, while the remaining 0.1% was owned by Joint-Stock Company Palmary (‘Palmary’), which was owned by Tseplyaev. As Palmary was effectively the only shareholder in Gazprom Export, it controlled it, and, through it, Gazprom Germania. As it…

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Energy Lessons from the Ukraine Crisis

It is a cliché that wars are fought over energy access.  It is just as trite to point out the illegality of military action to secure energy resources for oneself or to deny energy access to adversaries.  As sanctions against Russia and against Ukrainian separatist regions come into focus, energy access again comes front and center.  Germany’s…

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Will the Morocco-Nigeria Bilateral Investment Treaty Transform Sustainable Development into Hard Law?

The SDGs have now received virtually global endorsement. At the same time, new BITs have emerged which incorporate both the SDGs and the concept of sustainable development. This includes Morocco-Nigeria BIT 2016 (‘the Treaty’) which may prove to be the IIA that transforms sustainable development from a ‘mere’ political commitment or soft law into a hard legal obligation…

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Overcoming the Global Vaccine and Therapeutics Lag and ‘Vaccine Apartheid’: Abuse of Rights in the EU’s Continued Blocking of the TRIPS Waiver for COVID Vaccines and Related Medicines

Entering the third year of this global pandemic, the United States posted a grim global record of 1 million COVID cases on 3 January 2022.  This record, of course, exists in a shadow of relative non-transparency about COVID incidences, fatalities, and hospitalizations in many parts of the world, arising either from authoritarian regimes refusing to provide…

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New Options for Investor Accountability in ISDS

ISDS emerged in the twentieth century to empower foreign investors to assert legal claims against host states without the intervention of their home state. But this understanding of international investment law (IIL) – investor rights and host state duties – is now a relic of the past. Yet because of their current asymmetrical nature, ISDS and IIL do…

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