Court rules EU states must have say over corporate court trade deals

26 May 2017 - 11:00am
News

In another blow to the European Commission and a major victory for the European trade justice movement, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) again ruled against the Commission’s interests by deciding that it could not seal trade deals including corporate courts without approval from EU member states.

As has often been the case with stories on EU trade policy, there was much misunderstanding of the issue in the media. The Guardian labelled the ruling “in part a victory for EU institutions”.

The Telegraph argued that “the ECJ ruling could substantially reduce the risk of any future EU-UK free trade agreement getting bogged down in the EU national parliaments”

The Commission desperately wanted to have the power to negotiate and conclude deals including investment – that’s to say, deals including ISDS corporate courts. And with both the EU and UK championing ISDS mechanisms in trade deals, it would only ease the passage of a UK-EU trade deal if the deal doesn’t include an ISDS mechanism.

Indeed, as a former EU trade spokesman told the FT: “It simply suggests that the EU and the member states will probably be forced to carve out investment in any future EU-UK trade deal.”

Despite European Commission spin that it welcomed the ruling, anyone who has engaged on the EU trade agenda knows this to be wholly false. Indeed, the recent campaigning on CETA speaks to this truth.

In its desperation to conclude the deal as quickly as possible – and in so doing using CETA to open up ISDS to tens of thousands of US companies - the Commission wanted to pass the deal without any recourse to EU states, a move opposed by many states themselves.

Public pressure

In the end, the Commission lost as the EU’s member states decided that the deal must be voted on by national parliaments before its corporate court mechanism can be put in place. 

More than 13,000 War on Want members and supporters joined the public pressure across Europe that was central to this critical campaign win, which has helped contribute to awareness of this new, landmark ruling which may save many countries from the peril of EU trade deals with ISDS corporate courts.

Due to the extreme public, global opposition to corporate courts, the Financial Times argued in an editorial that the EU should scrap them for good: “It should ditch the whole idea of having rules on investment, or at least rules allowing companies to sue a government directly, in FTAs. Such “investor-state” provisions have attracted intense opposition, not just from the Walloons but also from anti-corporate campaigners.”

Latest news

"Lift the Ban" on Asylum Seekers Working

17 October 2018 - 11:45am

War on Want is a part of a coalition of organisations calling on the government to "Lift the Ban" on people seeking asylum working. 

Currently, people seeking asylum in the UK are effectively banned from working, which means they are dependent on asylum support whilst they wait for a decision on their asylum claim. People seeking asylum are given just £5.39 per day to meet all their essential living costs, including food, clothing, toiletries and transport and often the cost of their asylum application.

Read more

Indigenous Colombians threatened with death for opposition to mega-mining project as defenders visit UK

16 October 2018 - 11:00am

“Death to all these scum”: threats made by far-right paramilitaries promise to “clean” the region of indigenous Wayúu campaigning against mega-mining projects by UK-listed companies in their ancestral lands. Threats arrive just days before a week of action launches in London to highlight the issue. Delegates have arrived from the United States, Brazil, Chile and Colombia, including Wayúu community leader, Misael Socarras Ipuana.

Read more

Join the conversation

RT : The militarisation of space, cyber warfare, hacking, killer robots, drones, & alternative visions of security. The… https://t.co/1uJ7mHQQzd 5 hours 57 min ago
In our new report, "The Rivers are Bleeding", War on Want exposes the devastating impact of British mining in Latin… https://t.co/sQe3R4IzfU 9 hours 12 min ago
On 4 Oct, McDonald's, Wetherspoons, TGI Fridays, Uber Eats & Deliveroo couriers made history by striking on the sam… https://t.co/VNOpxIMfBh 9 hours 28 min ago