EU Commission urges FINLAND and the UNITED KINGDOM to terminate their Bilateral Investment Treaties with other EU Member States

The Commission has today sent letters of formal notice to Finland and the United Kingdom for failing to effectively remove intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) from their legal orders.

It has been the Commission’s long-standing position that BITs between EU Member States overlap and conflict with Union law because they discriminate between EU investors on the basis of nationality.

Following the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Achmea (C-284/16), in their Declarations of 15 and 16 January 2019, all Member States committed to terminate their intra-EU BITs in a coordinated manner by means of a plurilateral treaty, unless bilateral terminations were considered mutually more expedient.

The Commission regrets that the United Kingdom and Finland did not sign the plurilateral treaty alongside other Member States and that they have failed to engage in any discussion with the Member States concerned to proceed with the bilateral termination of their intra-EU BITs.

The Commission urges the United Kingdom and Finland to take all necessary actions to urgently remove the intra-EU BITs from their legal order, bearing in mind their incompatibility with Union law. Without a satisfactory response from them within four months, the Commission may decide to address reasoned opinions.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, EU law continues to apply to the United Kingdom during the transition period.

Daniel Ferrie

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