The Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) or investment court system (ICS) has a number of iterations. It is a system through which individual companies can sue countries for alleged discriminatory practices. One small example is where the tobacco company Philip Morris sued Uruguay after having enacted strict laws aimed at promoting public health. ISDS is found in international investment agreements, such as the Energy Charter Treaty, TTP, CETA, TTIP and the like.
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) whose primary role is to expose the power of corporate lobbying in the EU, have highlighted in a recent report how the European Commission, faced with all sorts of existential problems such as Brexit, a banking crisis and a raft of threatening elections and referendums continue to push through laws the heavily benefit corporations to the cost of public and civil interests.
A new European Commission proposal is set to entrench the dangerous investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, which foreign investors can use to subvert democratic decision-making. CEO opposes this attempt to establish a global super court for corporations.
The European Commission is currently preparing to launch a multilateral mechanism to settle investor-state disputes. This comes at a time, when globalisation is at a new, dangerous crossroads.
One path leads to stronger protection of human rights and the environment, and to governments being able to reclaim policy space to address climate change, inequality and other pressing issues of our times. The other path leads to more rights for corporations to bully decision makers and make them pay up for regulation that is in the interest of the people, not just industry.
The European Commission proposal for a multilateral mechanism to settle investor-state disputes (ISDS) – publicly branded as a Multilateral Investment Court – would take us down that second path. It threatens to forever lock in the highly controversial ISDS system that only benefits corporations.
Together with other civil society groups in the Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B), Corporate Europe Observatory has developed a position paper on the proposal, which outlines some of the serious risks linked to such a ‘multilateral ISDS system’:
At a time when all attention should be focused on averting a global climate catastrophe, on tackling social and economic inequality and on empowering the many, there is no room for agreements which would give corporations the power to sue governments pursuing such solutions.
Read the full report, position paper and consultation paper HERE
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