This research project is aimed at examining the development of EU's investment relations with third countries in light of the innovations introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon. There is a number of economic international agreements currently under negotiatio n between the European Union on the hand, and its trade partners on the other. One can mention the so called CETA (comprehensive economic trade agreement) between the European Union and Canada, that will be probably ratified within the end of 2012. There are some complex, and so far unresolved, legal issues relating to the ratification of this agreement. As an example, it is unclear how the European Union will be able to be part to dispute settlement resolution mechanisms. When approved, CETA is expected to be a landmark move in the history of global free trade. As is well known, the development of EU's trade relations has a major impact on, and is often paralleled in, the agreements of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which the Kingdom of N orway is a founding Member. Some 75% of total Norway's trade is with the European Union.
This project will focus on the main legal aspects concerning free trade agreements, as far as foreign investment is concerned. Special attention will be devoted to th e practical implementation of the novelties introduced in the EU legal system by the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. In particular, this project will examine how the European Union can resolve the conundrum concerning investment protection, as regards the possibility for the EU to be part to dispute settlement resolution. Since the existing arbitration mechanisms (such as ICSID) do not currently accept the membership of international organisations, this project will try and define, among other things, an acceptable legal framework for an alternative legal mechanism that could serve the purpose to provide international investors with an independent, neutral dispute settlement resolution.