Civil society condemns EU’s anti-democratic ‘investor rights’ plan

22 February 2016 - 12:15am
Press release

War on Want today joined 280 civil society organisations from across Europe, US and Canada in calling on the EU and the US government to eliminate the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and its so-called replacement, the Investment Court System (ICS), from TTIP, CETA and all other trade agreements.  

The signed statement condemning the EU’s ‘rebranding’ of the old ISDS system comes ahead the 12th round of TTIP negotiations, which start today (22 February).The issue returns to the negotiating table after a two-year impasse.

John Hilary, Executive Director at War on Want, said:

“The EU’s rebranding exercise has changed nothing. This investment court proposal is an outrageous assault on our democratic rights and freedoms, and only multinational corporations stand to benefit from it.

“The people of Europe have consistently rejected these new powers for big business, and the EU must now listen or face the consequences.”

The European Commission received a record response when it consulted the people of Europe over whether they wanted ISDS.  More than 145,000 people rejected the system outright: over 97% of all respondents.

The new ICS does nothing to allay key concerns around the ISDS system.

  • ISDS and ICS give exclusive rights to foreign investors, thereby discriminating against domestic investors and communities, with no benefits to the wider society.
  • ISDS and ICS can force governments to use billions in taxpayers’ funds to compensate corporations for public health, environmental, labour and other public interest policies, government actions and even court rulings
  • ISDS and ICS are not subject to democratic principles and scrutiny. Parliaments will not be able to change the rules later on.
  • ISDS and ICS undermine the jurisdiction of European and Member State courts as foreign investors can by-pass them.
  • ISDS and ICS ignore the fact that European, US and Canadian legal systems are perfectly capable of handling disputes with foreign investors, based on the law that applies to everyone else in society.

 

Notes for Editors

For further information and interviews, contact John Hilary on +44 7983 550727 or Mark Dearn on +44 7804 289680.

Online public consultation on investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/consultations/index.cfm?consul_id=179

Signed statement below:

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