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The EU as a Global Actor in Reforming the International Investment Law Regime in Light of Sustainable Development

Stefanie Schacherer


The international investment law regime is undergoing a process of reform. The guiding paradigm of this reform is the principle of sustainable development. The EU, through its exclusive competence over foreign direct investment, has become a significant actor on the stage of international investment law governance.

According to recent statements of the EU institutions, the EU seeks to shape its policy to be consistent with the principle of sustainable development. In more concrete terms this means that EU investment law making shall be consistent with core labour standards, environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources as well as with sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Against this background, the present paper seeks to analyse to what extent the EU is reforming international investment law in light of sustainable development. The analysis is divided into two main parts. The first is on the legal and non-legal bases of the EU enabling it to be a global actor in the given field.

The second part is on the implementation or the ‘actor’s performance’ of the EU. In order to analyse the implementation, the post-Lisbon treaty practice of the EU in the field of international investment regulation shall be looked at, in particular the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada.


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