The European Parliament has proposed the creation of a permanent global investment court to rule on trade disputes between corporate investors and governments under an EU-US trade deal (TTIP)
EXCERPT: The Parliament’s modified ISDS would allow corporations to sue governments if they believe that environmental, health or social standards damage their investments.
EU parliament cooks up Euro-fudge on private TTIP courts
In a non-binding recommendation to the European Commission, the European Parliament has proposed the creation of a permanent global investment court to rule on trade disputes between corporate investors and governments under an EU-US trade deal (TTIP).
But Greenpeace warned that the plan to modify the mechanism establishing private courts (known as ISDS) lacks detail, is unlikely to garner the support of the United States, and would allow corporations to challenge environmental, social, and health protection.
The Parliament’s modified ISDS would allow corporations to sue governments if they believe that environmental, health or social standards damage their investments. The recommendation does not explain which courts would rule on these claims, how they would guarantee transparency, or guard against conflicts of interest.
The Parliament’s recommendation follows similar plans by the Commission – in response to widespread public opposition to TTIP – for superficial reform of ISDS.
Greenpeace trade expert Jürgen Knirsch said: “The Parliament has muddled its position on ISDS and tinkered with a system that puts corporate interests ahead of people and the environment. The result is a classic example of toxic Euro-fudge that undermines democracy and won’t stop public resistance to TTIP. Nothing can justify the creation of a privileged and separate legal system for the defence of private commercial interests. Foreign investors should enjoy the same access to justice as any person or company seeking to protect its rights and interests before a national or EU court of law.”
Over 2.3 million people have already signed a European petition against TTIP, and 97 percent of respondents to a Commission public consultation opposed the inclusion of ISDS.
The inclusion of ISDS in EU trade agreements with the US and Canada would give private courts jurisdiction over 65-80 percent of global investment, up from 15-20 percent currently.
EU-US negotiations on ISDS have been suspended since 2014. EU and US negotiators will hold the tenth round of TTIP talks in Brussels next week.
Greenpeace calls on the Commission to permanently end negotiations on any form of ISDS. Even without an ISDS mechanism, TTIP is a serious threat for environmental protection on both sides of the Atlantic, warned Greenpeace.
 Figures by Gus van Harten, presentation March 2015: Serious flaws of ISDS. See also Gus Van Harten, 10 April 2015: A Report on the Flawed Proposals for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in TTIP and CETA. Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper N. 16/ 2015. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2595189