EU planning parallel justice system for business, new leak shows

19 May 2016 - 7:30am
Press release

A leaked EU document, published today, reveals that European governments are secretly planning to introduce a special justice system for business investors across Europe.

The plan seeks to establish a set of legal privileges for corporations within Europe, undermining domestic courts and creating a parallel system open to foreign investors alone.

The proposed investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism is already highly controversial across Europe, in that it allows transnational corporations a unique power to challenge any new laws or regulations that could adversely affect their profits in future. The EU also plans to extend the power to North American corporations in the EU-US trade deal TTIP and EU-Canada agreement CETA.

The EU public consultation on ISDS generated a record public participation of 150,000 responses, with over 97% saying they did not wish to see such powers introduced. The European Commission has ignored the findings of the consultation and is pressing ahead with the introduction of the new powers regardless.

John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, said: "This latest leak shows EU governments plotting to undermine the basic principle of equality before the law. Big business will get its own parallel justice system, and with it the power to sue us for any future public policy choices that go against corporate interests. Coming just one month before the UK referendum on EU membership, this is a further sign of the death of democracy in Europe."

The proposal was tabled in secret at last month's EU trade policy committee by the five governments of Austria, France, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, and was followed by the publication of a similar proposal on the website of EU lobby group Business Europe, in what appears to have been a coordinated action.

It seeks to remove the current set of bilateral investment treaties between EU member states and introduce an all-embracing right for business to sue across Europe as a whole.

The document was brought to light by the Seattle to Brussels Network, the European trade campaign of which War on Want is a member.

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more details or comment on the leaked document, contact John Hilary on +44 7983 550727.

The text of the proposal is attached below, while a more detailed analysis is available here.

 

Latest news

Morning Star: IMF & World Bank admit to inequality crisis but continue to create it

23 October 2017 - 10:45am

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been forced to admit to the crisis of soaring inequality. But it is the policies they have spent 40 years forcing on the world's poor that led us here. This charm offensive is unlikely to signal a significant shift in thier approach but it may be an indication that cracks in the system run deeper than they appear. 

By Marienna Pope-Weidemann, War on Want 

Read more

Migrant and Precarious Workers are Winning Britain a Pay Rise!

17 October 2017 - 3:00pm

Migrant and precarious workers are winning Britain a pay rise. Migrant and precarious workers are leading the fights to get organised. They are tackling precarious work, outsourcing and privatisation, the real drivers of low pay and insecurity at work.  Despite facing stigmatisation by a media that too often blames them for low pay and insecurity at work, they are standing up for themselves and winning. Their struggles tell an important story about how Britain can win a pay rise: by standing with migrant workers and ending precarious contracts.

Read more

Join the conversation

Proud of our history standing for #justice with communities in #UK & global South. Celebrating those partners this… https://t.co/7FMmEsLZK9 2 hours 19 min ago
'40 years of delusion and denial, #WorldBank #IMF finally admits inequality is tearing us apart’ writes @MariennaWPhttps://t.co/ttnln1R8AE 4 hours 49 min ago
Middle what? East of where? We use North Africa and West Asia – terms rooted in geography. Read more on our partner… https://t.co/Rv7kzYCrUY 13 hours 14 min ago