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THE COHERENCE OF EU LAW: THE PROMOTION OF INVESTMENTS VS. THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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Among the challenging legal questions which the new competence of the European Union (EU) in the field of investments abroad raises, one deserves particular attention, namely coherence between the protection of investments and the promotion of human rights and democracy within EU law. After examining general EU policy, the paper then examines the normative and procedural relationship between investment law and human rights law that emerges from arbitral case law. While areas of convergence exist, these two regimes appear to operate within a legal framework of mutual indifference. However, human rights law and related concerns represent both general principles of EU law and EU policy of paramount importance in the development of external relations. As a result, EU institutions must ensure the coherence of investment policy with human rights law and policy. The issue of coherence may be viewed from a policy perspective, with particular regard to the specific powers entrusted to the Commission, the Parliament and the Council of Europe and the current exercise of such powers. In this regard, the more the standards of investors’ protection under investment agreements are premised on clear definitions, exceptions and limitations, the more the adoption of State measures for the protection of human rights will fall within the circumstances precluding wrongfulness. In addition, the coherence issue has a normative component which concerns the compatibility of future EU International Investment Agreements (IIAs) with primary and secondary EU law. Conflicts between future EU IIAs and EU law may undermine the uniform application of EU law. Similarly, these conflicts may lead the assertion of the supremacy of EU law resulting in the violation of EU IIAs. Normative conflicts can and ought to be minimized.Among the challenging legal questions which the new competence of the European Union (EU) in the field of investments abroad raises, one deserves particular attention, namely coherence between the protection of investments and the promotion of human rights and democracy within EU law. After examining general EU policy, the paper then examines the normative and procedural relationship between investment law and human rights law that emerges from arbitral case law. While areas of convergence exist, these two regimes appear to operate within a legal framework of mutual indifference. However, human rights law and related concerns represent both general principles of EU law and EU policy of paramount importance in the development of external relations. As a result, EU institutions must ensure the coherence of investment policy with human rights law and policy. The issue of coherence may be viewed from a policy perspective, with particular regard to the specific powers entrusted to the Commission, the Parliament and the Council of Europe and the current exercise of such powers. In this regard, the more the standards of investors’ protection under investment agreements are premised on clear definitions, exceptions and limitations, the more the adoption of State measures for the protection of human rights will fall within the circumstances precluding wrongfulness. In addition, the coherence issue has a normative component which concerns the compatibility of future EU International Investment Agreements (IIAs) with primary and secondary EU law. Conflicts between future EU IIAs and EU law may undermine the uniform application of EU law. Similarly, these conflicts may lead the assertion of the supremacy of EU law resulting in the violation of EU IIAs. Normative conflicts can and ought to be minimized.Among the challenging legal questions which the new competence of the European Union (EU) in the field of investments abroad raises, one deserves particular attention, namely coherence between the protection of investments and the promotion of human rights and democracy within EU law. After examining general EU policy, the paper then examines the normative and procedural relationship between investment law and human rights law that emerges from arbitral case law. While areas of convergence exist, these two regimes appear to operate within a legal framework of mutual indifference. However, human rights law and related concerns represent both general principles of EU law and EU policy of paramount importance in the development of external relations. As a result, EU institutions must ensure the coherence of investment policy with human rights law and policy. The issue of coherence may be viewed from a policy perspective, with particular regard to the specific powers entrusted to the Commission, the Parliament and the Council of Europe and the current exercise of such powers. In this regard, the more the standards of investors’ protection under investment agreements are premised on clear definitions, exceptions and limitations, the more the adoption of State measures for the protection of human rights will fall within the circumstances precluding wrongfulness. In addition, the coherence issue has a normative component which concerns the compatibility of future EU International Investment Agreements (IIAs) with primary and secondary EU law. Conflicts between future EU IIAs and EU law may undermine the uniform application of EU law. Similarly, these conflicts may lead the assertion of the supremacy of EU law resulting in the violation of EU IIAs. Normative conflicts can and ought to be minimized.

10.1163/22116133-90230039
/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90230039
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/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90230039
2014-11-17
2018-07-16

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