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Maelstrom over Commission’s corporate court plans

Press Release

Wednesday 16 Sep 2015

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, slammed the European Commission’s revised proposal to introduce an investment court as a cosmetic concession to move ahead with negotiations on TTIP, the EU-US trade and investment partnership agreement.

Ms. Childers had previously opposed investment-state dispute settlement (ISDS), a mechanism in trade treaties which grants multinational corporations exclusive access to challenge governments in private arbitration courts over public decisions that may harm their profits.

Speaking from Brussels in reaction to today’s official rebranding of ISDS by EU Trade Commissioner Malmström, Ms. Childers said:

“Ms. Malmström is bringing mutton dressed as lamb to a table that actually ordered neither.

“Faced with a groundswell of opposition to a system that grants corporations exclusive jurisdiction to blackmail governments against acting in the public interest, the Commission is now trying to soften the blow.

“Yet, every person in Europe enjoys access to a legal system that is second to none, unlike those that originally inspired the infamous ISDS.

“In that sense, we are yet to be told why we need these special, corporate courts, other than to further a US global trade fixation. If all these US multinationals were so afraid of operating in the EU markets, they shouldn’t be here in the first place.

“Moreover, given the Commission’s attachment to the trade agreement negotiated with Canada, and its unsweetened, ISDS clause, US corporations with a presence there won’t need to bother with Ms. Malmström’s ISDS-lite.

“Many of us in Parliament are most unimpressed with the Commission’s ‘two steps backward, one step forward’ choreography”