MEPs Recommend ISDS with Lipstick in TTIP

Beauvais, July 8th, 2015. Press release.

On Wednesday, July 8, 2015 the European Parliament voted to recommend a (slightly tweaked) version of ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) in the currently negotiated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP. April, who had called for the rejection of ISDS, regrets that the European Parliament once again fell prey to the vague promises of the European Commission, and did not demand the deletion once and for all the undemocratic ISDS from the trade agreement.

The vote took place after a postponement the month before, as the MEPs were not convinced by the proposed compromise.

Following a peculiar interpretation of the rules by the President of the EP, the MEPs voted first on the compromise amendment defended by the President, adopting it and making all other amendments fall.

The whole text of the compromise amendment goes as follows :

“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;”

According to MEPs who voted in favor, the new text replaces ISDS with a new system. April points out that this yet-to-be-named system resembles ISDS in all keys points, with perhaps an added promise to be more democratic. If it looks like a duck ...

"Today was not a good day for democracy", said Jeanne Tadeusz, public affairs officer at April. "ISDS in TTIP was recommend by the European Parliament, and the President of the EP bended the rules to do so. Although the recommendation is not binding, it does not bode well for the future text. "

"The vote on this report is just a step and shows an improvement of MEPs awareness regarding the threats of TTIP", concluded Frédéric Couchet, executive director at April. "The awareness-raising and mobilization continue, and April will fully play its part".