The growing pains of actorness: the European Union in global investment governance

Tomer Broude*, Yoram Z. Haftel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Foreign investment is governed by thousands of international investment agreements (IIAs), many of which include investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions. Member states have played a prominent role in the evolution and shape of this decentralized global investment regime. The EU itself has become an actor in this regime since gaining competence in this area in 2009. This article examines the manners by which investment policies of the EU and its member states have evolved over time and their implications for the EU’s actorness. Using, first, the concept and metric of state regulatory space, we show that the EU is more enthusiastic than its member states about reforms, but that a lack of internal cohesiveness and a competitive external environment limit its actorness. Second, drawing on recent discussions on ISDS reforms, we highlight the increasing ability of the EU to speak up with one voice on global investment rules.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)749-768
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • EU actorness
  • International investment agreements
  • Investor-State dispute settlement
  • state regulatory space


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