Slovakia definitely won a dispute with Achmea

Last update: 08.11.2018 07:52

Slovak Republic won a dispute with Achmea B.V. Today, the German Supreme Court (BGH) dismissed the original arbitration decision against the Slovak Republic in this case. The dispute concerning the ban on health-insurance companies’ profits is definitely history, which means that the Slovak Republic does not have to compensate the Union private health insurer. The related distraint proceedings in Luxembourg should be completed in the near future, which would entail the release of the blocked funds in total of 30 million euros.

After a nearly ten-year legal dispute concerning the ban on health-insurance companies’ profits, the German Supreme Court cancelled today the arbitration decision against the Slovak Republic, which means that the “Achmea” case is definitely history. This means that the Slovak Republic does not have to indemnify Achmea as it has originally been imposed in this ruling by the arbitration tribunal.    

“It has been confirmed what we said years ago, namely that we would not pay Achmea a single euro in this dispute. Today, the court has finally ruled in our favour and all the “scavengers” who shouted for years that we would lose were gloating in vain. I want to thank the entire team for their work and I would like to express how delighted I am about the outcome,” Peter Kažimír, Finance Minister, said after the decision was published.

In its decision-making, the BGH was obliged to take into account the verdict of the European Court of Justice on a preliminary issue, which is why such an outcome was awaited.  Subsequently, the related distraint proceedings in Luxembourg should be completed, which would entail the release of the blocked funds of the Slovak Republic. Potential subsequent legal actions by Achmea may only be brought against the decision of the BGH rather than against the Slovak Republic itself.

The verdict of the European Court of Justice in Achmea B.V. versus the Slovak Republic is important not only for the Slovak Republic, but also for all the other EU Member States with similar investment arbitrations in the amount of several hundred million euros conducted against them.  The relevant decision constituted a major precedent which put investment arbitration conducted in accordance with bilateral investment agreements concluded between EU Member States outside the EU rules. It affects nearly 200 different agreements on investment protection, which are likely to be repealed as well. Bilateral investment agreements are used in breach of the binding legal opinion of the European Court of Justice as one of the methods of protecting cross-border investments in the single market. The court’s decision thus constitutes an essential step in eliminating legal uncertainty present among EU investors and the EU Member States due to the risks of major lawsuits by such investors.

We can say after today that arbitration proceedings as we know them are becoming a thing of the past.

 

Press Department

Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic