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Thursday, 22 April 2010

The EU as a global investment partner

The European Union (EU)’s interest and involvement in foreign direct investment (FDI) is by no means new. However, it has only been comparatively recently that one has been able to begin to distinguish the particularities of a specific EU approach to FDI, especially when placed within a broader developmental context. The approach has been most visible during the ongoing negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping of States. Though the EU-ACP relationship is often promoted (by the EU) as a model of mutual and benign cooperation between economically divergent States, the relationship highlights, in fact, political and normative challenges for both sides. In particular, whereas the EU has sought to utilise its links with the ACP countries to fashion a uniquely global role for itself, practice suggests this relationship is much more problematic for both sides. And what has in the past proved true for trade, is proving equally true in relation to FDI. This paper seeks to critically address the role of the EU as a global investment actor, with particular focus on the supposed synergies between FDI as a development assistance tool and FDI as a means to promote market liberalization. This is especially significant as the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009 has, for the first time, introduced the first explicit reference to foreign investment in the EU’s treaty arrangements.

Source: Norman Girvan