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.


Sofia Bournou

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