To strengthen the business environment for investors in the European Union, the European Commission on July 19 issued a special communication. The text offers guidance to help EU investors to invoke their rights before national administrations and courts.

Even though EU law does not solve all problems investors face, the communication clarifies that EU law protects EU investors’ rights, and investors can enforce these rights before national administrations and courts.

According to a European Commission press release, investors can no longer rely on intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (‘intra-EU BITs’). Based on the EU’s Court of Justice, these treaties are illegal as they overlap with the EU single market rules and discriminate between EU investors.

“Boosting investment is a key priority of the Capital Markets Union,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. “EU law strikes the right balance between protecting the rights of EU investors and enabling governments to regulate in the public interest. There is no place in the Single Market for bilateral investment treaties between Member States. Today’s Communication sends a strong signal that EU law already protects investors. They can therefore remain confident when investing within the EU.”

According to Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, investors need to be able to count on a predictable, stable and clear regulatory environment.

“By clarifying the rights that EU investors enjoy when they operate within the Single Market, the Communication adopted today will help ensure those rights are known and respected in all Member States,” said Katainen. “I trust that this will increase investors’ confidence and improve further the investment climate in the European Union.”