November 19, 2016

European Parliament resolution: check legality ISDS/ICS in CETA

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Members of the European Parliament want the EU’s Court of Justice to check whether a parallel legal system in the trade agreement with Canada (CETA) is compatible with the EU treaties. The parallel legal system, known as ISDS / ICS, is only accessible to foreign investors. Eighty-nine members tabled a resolution. The Parliament will vote next week, Wednesday 23 November 2016.

According to associations of judges (one, two), academics (letter from over 100 law professors) and NGOs (ClientEarth, two pager), the ISDS / ICS parallel legal system is not compatible with the EU treaties.

Debate suppression: Put on the blinkers

The Parliament’s trade committee wants to ratify CETA as soon as possible, without the legal check proposed in the resolution. The Conference of Presidents decided to not allow a debate on the resolution. This does not look good. The EU risks ratifying a trade agreement that is not legal and would undermine democracy and the rule of law. If your MEP does not support the resolution and seems undecided on CETA (see the CETA check), you may like to contact your MEP. Our core values are at stake.

Ratification vote

The major vote on CETA, the ratification vote, may be as soon as 14 December (see Forcasts). The Conference of Presidents decided that the employment and environment committees are not allowed to issue their (critical) opinions. Despite many concerns, the Parliament rushes through ratification. 1 The foreign affairs committee (which is in favour) is allowed to issue its opinion.

The Parliament’s leadership is manufacturing consent.


Update: On Monday 21 November the Parliament voted on whether to have a debate on referring the question to the Court. The Parliament rejected the debate 184 to 170, 9 abstentions. So, Wednesday a vote on the resolution to ask the Court’s opinion, without first a debate.

Update 2: The Parliament voted against the resolution to refer ISDS/ICS to the Court. Who voted in favour and against? See the roll call vote on resolution B8-1220/2016.

MEPs protested against the time table for the ratification vote; this may lead to more time and debate.

Footnotes:

1 For NGO analyses, see Transport & Environment, CEO, NGOs, and Vrijschrift