July 2, 2015

ISDS compromise threatens democracy

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Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament proposed a compromise amendment on investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). [1]

The amendment calls on the EU commission to replace ISDS with ISDS: “to replace the ISDS-system with a new system for resolving disputes between investors and states”.

The president’s proposal discriminates: only foreign investors would have access, local investors, states or citizens won’t. [2]

It is also anti-democratic and a slippery slope. Supranational fora fall outside a democratic context. There are no voters at the supranational level. The Parliament would not be able to adjust the rules to correct expansionist interpretations. [3]

The president’s version is based on an earlier seriously broken amendment by rapporteur Bernd Lange. [4]

The president adds: “where private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives”.

The reassurance is empty as an additional forum to challenge government decisions creates an additional threat to public policy objectives.

Members of Parliament should reject the president’s compromise and vote for amendment 27 which clearly rejects ISDS. [5] The vote may be as early as next week. Contact your member in Parliament now.

Update: TTIP debate on Tuesday morning 7th July, vote on Wednesday at 12.30 8th July.

[1] “to ensure that foreign investors are treated in a non-discriminatory fashion while benefitting from no greater rights than domestic investors, and to replace the ISDS-system with a new system for resolving disputes between investors and states which is subject to democratic principles and scrutiny where potential cases are treated in a transparent manner by publicly appointed, independent professional judges in public hearings and which includes an appellate mechanism, where consistency of judicial decisions is ensured, the jurisdiction of courts of the EU and of the Member States is respected and where private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives;”

(emphasis: the president’s changes to the earlier amendment)

[2] Prominent US legal experts: http://www.washingtonpost.com/r/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2015/04/30/Editorial-Opinion/Graphics/oppose_ISDS_Letter.pdf

[3]
https://blog.ffii.org/international-investment-court-plan-threatens-our-democracy/

[4] https://blog.ffii.org/sd-isds-amendments-are-seriously-broken/

[5] idem