Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, has vowed to reject arbitration mechanism granting multinational corporations exclusive rights to claim compensation from EU countries if they deem their profits are affected by government action.
This matter will come to a vote at next week’s plenary session of the European Parliament, where MEPs are due to approve an interim position on the ongoing trade talks between the European Union and the United States.
Ms. Childers has been a vocal opponent of the inclusion of such schemes in a new transatlantic trade and investment agreement and tabled an amendment demanding their outright exclusion from the final text together with likeminded colleagues.
The vote was postponed from the plenary session in June until next week amidst widespread controversy over such schemes, known as investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms (ISDS).
Speaking ahead of next week’s vote, in Strasbourg, Ms. Childers said:
“The lead negotiators within Parliament used the vote postponement to carve a new compromise but the demands from those who want to push for ‘free’ trade at any cost are not acceptable to many of us.
“Faced with widespread civil society opposition to such arbitration schemes, cooked up decades ago to protect multinational corporations from the depredations of unpredictable regimes in what was then known as the ‘third world’, they are now peddling a sugar-coated version of ISDS.
“Rejigging the arbitrator panels with public appointments and introducing an extra layer of recourse does not change the fact that nobody has bothered to explain or justify why we need this sort of para-judicial playground amongst trade blocs governed by the rule of law.
“Transatlantic trade and investment flows are alive and kicking, as my country shows, and the court systems do their job. I am yet to hear how the business and investment climate could improve with ISDS, other than for operators bent on stalling or blocking government action in the public interest.
“The track record of the tobacco industry in this regard speaks volumes of how such schemes are used and abused provided there is enough money to play in this exclusive legal merry-go-round.”