A favourable environment for investment is essential for economic growth and the single market. Moreover, it is necessary to mobilise the massive private investment the EU needs to achieve the green and digital transitions and to finance the post-COVID economic recovery.
In line with the better regulation guidelines, the Commission carefully considered the feedback received on the existing system of investment protection and facilitation within the European Union and assessed the evidence gathered from various sources on the issues that investors, including SMEs and individuals, face when investing across the EU.
The Commission has also attentively reflected on the concerns of different stakeholders, including civil society, on avoiding preferential treatment for investors compared to other stakeholders, such as workers or consumers. The Commission has also to weigh investors’ interests with legitimate public interest objectives pursued by the EU and the Member States.
Intra-EU investments fall within the scope of the EU Treaty and benefit from the protection of EU law, which provides for a complete and effective system of judicial remedies. Investors report that specific problems can arise due to a lack of clarity or divergences on the right to compensation in case of expropriation, measures affecting the value of an existing investment, or difficulties when enforcing rights. These issues may affect investors’ confidence when investing in the EU. However, evidence is not sufficient to conclude that these problems are systematic, or sufficiently material to warrant specific legal action at EU level in order to preserve the foundations or functioning of the Single Market as a whole.
In that context, the Commission has put forward a number of proposals to strengthen the single market and is committed to ensuring the effective enforcement of EU rules. The Commission is also working to maximise the benefits of existing EU tools and mechanisms, for example, the European Semester, the Single Market Enforcement Task Force, and the rule of law report, with a view to proposing targeted actions as necessary, including infringement procedures where relevant. In that context, strengthening the robustness of information gathered will be key.
On 28 June 2022, the Commission organised a Forum on protecting and facilitating investment in the single market. Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union, opened the event with a keynote speech on the policy approach and presented a toolbox of possible targeted measures on investment protection and facilitation.
The event focused on
- identifying and confirming horizontal areas with an impact on investments throughout the investment life cycle
- examining how to ensure effective use and implementation of a toolbox of measures on investment protection in the Single Market, in particular: SOLVIT, the Single Market Enforcement Task Force, the Single Market Obstacles Tool, the Rule of law report, the European semester, judicial training, the EU Justice Scoreboard, the Invest-EU Portal, Your Europe, infringement proceedings and proceedings before national courts, and how to establish structured feedback and follow-up mechanisms at the EU and national level
- presenting EU and national measures to facilitate cross-border investments, with special emphasis on sustainable investment
Find more information on the Forum, which brought together all groups of stakeholders.