A week of fundamental critique on trade negotiations

Last week the European Parliament postponed the vote on a resolution on the EU-US trade agreement (TTIP). The vote was postponed because many social democratic members oppose investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The US House voted a fast-track package down. This week various authors criticised fundamental aspects of ongoing trade negotiations. The geopolitical argument: China

Lawrence Summers and George Soros pointed out that the use of anti-China language is dangerous.

S&D ISDS amendments are seriously broken

Wednesday the European Parliament will vote on a resolution on TTIP, the agreement with the US under negotiation. The EU commission wants to add investor-to-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, to this agreement. This would give foreign investors the right to bypass local courts. In the resolution the Parliament will express its view on TTIP and ISDS. Here is the text of the draft resolution (the report of the trade committee) and the amendments; on ISDS the social democrats (S&D) tabled amendments 114-116.

OpenTechSummit 2015 in Berlin a Fantastic Success

The OpenTechSummit 2015 took place for the first time in Berlin on May 14, 2015 with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure as a core partner and supporter. With more than 700 attendees – from policy makers, developers, start-ups, to contributors – and over 70 speakers the event was a huge success. A wonderful atmosphere came up through the participation of lots of kids in the hacking area and in the workshops. Topics at the OpenTechSummit range from future technologies, open hardware, encyclopedias, open data and free knowledge, software development, community networks and digital policies. The FFII was the main responsible for the track “Internet, Society and Patents”.

ISDS: diplomatic blunder Malmström threatens democracy and privacy

The EU commission published a concept paper on investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). In my opinion the plans are a diplomatic blunder which threatens our democracy and privacy. ISDS would give foreign investors – and only foreign investors – the right to bypass local courts and challenge governments before supranational investment tribunals. ISDS “solves” incidental discrimination against foreign investors through structural discrimination against local investors, governments and citizens. The commission wants to go ahead with the trade agreements with Canada and Singapore.

ISDS Mantra

“Debating Europe” asked the Commissioner Malmström:
Can #TTIP negotiations proceed without the #ISDS mechanism? It is a very good question which the Commissioner did not answer. Here is my answer:
ISDS is just an enforcement layer and does not affect substantive elements. Thus we could do without. Historically, lack of enforcement layers was an academic critical talking point against the GATT process.

OpenTechSummit 2015 Berlin May 14

The OpenTechSummit will take place for the first time in Berlin on May 14, 2015 with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure as a core partner and supporter. The Free and Open Source technology event brings together policy makers, developers, start-ups, and contributors. Topics at the OpenTechSummit range from future technologies, open hardware, encyclopedias, open data and free knowledge, software development, community networks and digital policies. In the evening there will be an “OpenTech-Himmelfahrt” lounge. The FFII is the main responsible for the track “Internet, Society and Patents”.

Social democrats propose dangerously flawed ISDS reforms

Social democratic ministers from six EU countries published reform proposals for the highly controversial investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. ISDS gives foreign investors the right to bypass local courts and use international arbitration to fight out conflicts with states. The claimants have a 50% influence on the make up of the arbitral tribunals. For the short term the social democrats from Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, and France propose to ratify the agreements with Canada and Singapore. These agreements are seriously broken.