With the Lisbon Treaty the EU has exclusive competence within the area of foreign direct investments (FDI), including bilateral investment protection treaties (BIT), as part of the common trade policy. Until now, Member States have signed BITs with third countries; henceforth this will only be possible to the extent that the EU does not wish to sign an agreement with the country in question.
Furthermore, the Commission wants easy access to assess whether an existing BIT signed by the Member States is in accordance with EU legal rights, and declare those which are not invalid. COREPER has empowered the Presidency to enter into an informal trialogue with the European Parliament and the Commission to find a compromise regarding the regulation, for which the Commission has put forward a proposal.
One of the difficult issues regards the field of application of the regulation. Within the Council there is general consensus on a limited interpretation of the scope of the EU’s new exclusive competence in the area of investments, while the interpretation of the Commission and the European Parliament is much broader when it comes to exclusive competence.