International investment

In 2013, EU inward investment flows reached €327 billion, while EU outward investment flows amounted to €341 billion. As regards foreign direct investment (FDI) specifically, in 2012 the EU hosted 34% of global FDI stocks, while it accounted for 46% of the world’s outward investment. This makes the EU the largest FDI contributor worldwide. Due to EU’s role as source and destination of global FDI, it is of critical importance for the EU to have a well-defined investment policy both in terms of market access and protection.

With the Lisbon Treaty, investment policy has become an exclusive competence of the EU. However, as the EU only recently acquired such competences, unlike many other countries in the world, it has not yet developed its own model investment treaty, which could be used as a basis for its negotiations with other partners.

For BusinessEurope the EU needs a clear and consistent investment policy that comprises market access and protection of investment, including a reformed and effective ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) that is more transparent, balanced and publicly acceptable.


Press releases Date
EU foreign subsidies instrument: Keep administrative burden low for instrument to be effective 07/03/2023
New EU trade and investment strategy - an ambitious vision 14/10/2015
Stronger enforcement of trade rules is essential for free trade 27/02/2012
Position papers Date
Foreign Subsidies Instrument - BusinessEurope comments on the draft implementing regulation 06/03/2023
Screening of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the EU – BusinessEurope’s views 06/06/2018
Prevention and amicable resolution of disputes between investors and public authorities within the single market - BusinessEurope's reply to the public consultation by the European Commission 08/11/2017
BusinessEurope's assessment of the European Commission proposal on a new investment court system 23/10/2015
ISDS - Overview of BusinessEurope position 16/02/2015
Investor-state dispute settlement: a necessary mechanism to ensure investment protection - a BusinessEurope position paper 02/05/2014
Public letters Date
Intra-EU investment facilitation and protection - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness 06/09/2021
Termination of the so-called intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (BITs) - Letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission 05/03/2019
Intra-EU bilateral investment treaties - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to Olivier Guersent 22/02/2016
Investment protection and the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to MEPs Gianni Pittella and Bernd Lange 13/03/2015
Investment protection - Letter from Philippe de Buck to Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht 15/02/2012
Reports and studies Date
A better investment climate in Africa - Business views 18/06/2019


Sofia Bournou

Senior Adviser
+32 2 237 65 29
Last updated: 13 October 2020