Max Planck Lecture Series

Thursday, 20 June 2019, 16:00.

“The Clash Between International Investment Law and
the Autonomy of The EU Legal Order”



In its landmark judgment in the case of Slovakia v Achmea, the CJEU adjudicated that Investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) adversely affects the autonomy of EU law. Accordingly, ISDS clauses in international investment agreements that contravene Articles 267 and 344 TFEU and the principles of mutual trust and sincere cooperation enshrined in Articles 19(1) and 4(3) TEU are inapplicable under EU law. The consequences of this judgment are significant given that around 170 Bilateral Investment Agreements concluded between the different Member States have to be abrogated. However, the reasoning of the CJEU in Achmea did not convince international investment tribunals that they lack jurisdiction in intra-EU investment disputes. Ever since the Achmea judgment was handed down, every Investment Tribunal has considered that the EU case law was inapplicable. This opposition calls for clarification of the different principles underpinning the EU legal order and international investment law. The two authors of a recently published article in European Papers shall present a debate between international investment law and the EU legal order, which unfolds around three separate, albeit related issues: the status and applicability of international agreements concluded by the EU and the Member States within the EU legal order; the manner in which the Achmea judgment must be interpreted and its application in the international investment law context; and the meaning and relevance of the concept of the autonomy of EU law as the key issue in defining the relationship between EU law and international investment law.

Prof. Nicolas de Sadeleer
(University of Saint-Louis, Brussels)

Nicolas de Sadeeler is Professor of EU law at the University of Saint-Louis, Brussels. He formerly held a Marie Curie Chair at the University of Oslo. He was appointed in 2017 Distinguished International Visiting Professor at the University of Canberra, Australia. He is also Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) and cooperates with more than 20 universities across the EU. Professor de Sadeleer held a Jean Monnet Chair on Trade and Environment in 2011-14. He has been a Guest Professor at different African, Australian, Asian, Latin American and North American universities (working languages English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian). Professor de Sadeleer is the author of eleven books and has written many articles on EU environmental law, free movement of goods, internal market and EU tax law. His research is posted on his website:

Ms Ivana Damjanovic
(Lawyer & Researcher at the Australian National University)

Ivana Damjanovic is a Croatian and Australian lawyer, working as a lecturer at the University of Canberra (UC) and a researcher at the Australian National University (ANU). She commenced her PhD at the ANU Centre for European Studies in March 2017. Her research is interdisciplinary, encompassing issues of law and politics in the area of investment law and policy within the context of the EU. She has academic and practical experience in both common law and civil law jurisdictions, and expertise in international law and international relations. She has been lecturing in different countries (Australia, China, and Bhutan). Her professional background encompasses nine years as a career diplomat for the Government of Croatia, with diplomatic postings in Europe and Australia, as well as research and policy roles for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she participated in tasks related to Croatia’s accession to the EU.

Max Planck Institute Luxembourg
Conference room, 4th floor
4, rue Alphonse Weicker
L-2721 Luxembourg

If you are interested in participating in this lecture, please contact: Sabrina Logrillo, +352 26 94 88 926,