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Normative Influence of the European Union in the Field of International Investment Law

Louis-Marie Chauvel


By virtue of Article 207 TFEU, the EU has exclusive competence over Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). As the main issuer and destination of FDI worldwide, the position of the EU regarding International Investment Agreements (IIAs) may drastically modify the legal Framework of International Investment Law (IIL). This study relies on the criteria put forward by Laurent COHEN-TANUGI and other scholars in order to assess if the EU has gained normative influence in the field of IIL. We first observe that the EU has developed a consistent position regarding IIAs provisions, an important step towards gaining and exercising normative influence. Through a comparison of the content of EU FTAs and its negotiating partners’ usual practice, and through a study of the first developments of the EU’s proposal for a Multilateral Investment Court, we put forward the first signs of EU’s normative influence, even though it has difficulties to become global. These signs could be hindered by a growing opposition to investments’protection among the EU’s citizens, civil society and Member States. Such oppositions were seen at both the EU level and national level, given that IIAs are mixed agreements. These resistances ay be precluding the EU to conclude IIAs and therefore to gain normative influence. We thus explore two possible pathways for the EU to conclude these agreements in spite of oppositions although these pathways would not necessarily allow for the EU to gain more normative influence. This leads to the conclusion that the EU will not have a global normative influence as long as its policy regarding IIL does not get support from the public opinion and representatives inside the EU.


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