Binding Committee Interpretations in the EU’s New Free Trade and Investment Agreements
Article published by Szilárd Gáspár-Szilágyi in the European Investment Law and Arbitration Review, vol.2 (2017)
The European Union's new Free Trade and Investment Agreements are meant to tackle many of the issues that led to the contestation of international investment law by increasing the control of the contracting parties over the agreements. One such mechanism is allowing the contracting parties over the agreements. One such mechanism is allowing the contracting parties via treaty committees to adopt interpretations of the agreements that are binding on arbitral tribunals and domestic authorities. After a brief historical overview of the way in which this mechanism found its way into the European Union's Free Trade and Investment Agreements, this article discusses four main issues: (a) the meaning of 'serious concerns' regarding the interpretation of investment provisions; (b) the binding nature of committee interpretations from the perspective of arbitral tribunals and the Court of Justice of the European Union; (c) the temporal application of committee interpretations; and (d) their practical operation. As a conclusion, several recommendations are provided that are meant to improve the current 'binding interpretations' clauses, before they become model clauses used in future Free Trade and Investment Agreements.