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Childers rejects exclusive private business courts in EU-Singapore trade deal

News item

Thursday 14 Feb 2019

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, expressed disappointment at the endorsement by the European Parliament of an investor court system governing the EU-Singapore trade agreement.

Speaking from Strasbourg after Wednesday’s vote to approve an arbitration scheme to compensate corporations for public decisions that threaten their expected bottom lines on foot of the free trade agreement provisions, Ms. Childers said:

“I am disappointed to see a majority of my colleagues persisting with this model that grants big business an exclusive judicial forum to challenge government policy-making whenever they think decisions taken in the public interest will interfere with their profits.

“The Investor Court System, which the EU executive champions as an important reform to a dispute settlement, actually maintains the all the perverse features of this flawed approach.

“We are willingly taking our own governments hostage to a maximalist doctrine of ‘legitimate expectations’ from the business sector which can and does chill regulation, on pain of extortionately expensive litigation.

“By pushing this model, particularly among developed countries, we are effectively undermining our own legal and judicial institutions, where the same legal standards should apply to all under the same conditions.

“There is a groundswell of frustration and anger against the unequal dividends of globalisation among the general public.

Those who claim to defend it are actually undermining open societies by turning a deaf ear to their legitimate concerns.”