Investor privileges in EU-US trade deal threaten public interest and democracy

Leaked draft versions of the EU negotiating mandate for a far-reaching free trade agreement with the US – to be approved at next week’s trade minister meeting (14 June) – reveal the European Commission’s plans to enshrine more powers for corporations in the deal. The proposal follows a persistent campaign by industry lobby groups and law firms to empower large companies to challenge regulations both at home and abroad if they affect their profits. As a result, EU member states could soon find domestic laws to protect the public interest challenged in secretive, offshore tribunals where national laws have no weight and politicians no powers to intervene. Publication of TNI & CEO, June 2013 (…)

Investor-state dispute resolution: Will the EU-US trade deal encourage attacks on the public interest?

AK Europa, ÖGB Europabüro, the Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B) and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) invite you to a public discussion of civil society with MEPs, Council & Commission, on Tuesday, June 4th 2013, 14.00-16.00, Résidence Palace International Press Centre, Brussels, Polak Room. In June, the EU and the US will launch negotiations for a far-reaching free trade and investment agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). As part of this deal, the European Commission and the US government want to negotiate a so called investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism (audios of the conference available)

BITs that bite into budgets: will the EP let private lawyers decide?

Public discussion of civil society with MEPs, Council & Commission – Tuesday, February 26th 2013, 10.00 – 12.00 Résidence Palace – International Press Centre, Brussels – The European Union has acquired exclusive competence to negotiate international investment agreements such as Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs). These agreements typically include investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, which allow foreign investors to bring claims against states in which they made an investment. ISDS has far-reaching implications for the budgets of the European Union and of Member States. The final decisions over these payments will, however, not be taken by democratically elected bodies or by independent judges, but by private lawyers in ISDS tribunals. Invitation in English and French

Investors running wild on land

Traidcraft Briefing note published on January 2013 “Investors running wild on land: the threats posed by international investment agreements”. Against the backdrop of the ever-present challenge of food security in the 21st century, large tracts of land are being bought up by foreign investors around the globe with little attention being paid to the governance of these deals.

Intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties – A test for European Solidarity

Corporations in Western Europe are suing Central and Eastern European countries at international arbitration tribunals through a vast web of intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs). Yet while the European Commission has questioned the validity of these BITs, Netherlands, Germany, and the UK, oppose their termination. Study by Cecilia Olivet, published by TNI.

Profiting from Injustice -How law firms, arbitrators and financiers are fuelling an investment arbitration boom

A study by Cecilia Olivet and Pia Eberhardt, published by TNI and CEO has been published. A small club of international law firms, arbitrators and financial speculators are fuelling an investment arbitration boom that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars and preventing legislation in the public interest. The full study is available here. Executive summary available in English, German, Dutch and French.

S2B Letter to MEPs members of the INTA Committee

At the moment the European Parliament is asked to examine proposals that would make the EU financially responsible for policies targeted by private investor claims and that would allow the EU budget, i.e. EU tax payers’ money to be used to pay investment arbitration awards (see Vattenfall vs Germany, or the first case of a Chinese investor suing a EU Member State). The S2B Network wrote to the International Commitee Parliamentarians to demand that EU investment agreements do not grant access to international investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms (…).

The dark side of Investment Agreements

Vattenfall vs Germany

In May 2012 the Swedish energy company Vattenfall filed a request for arbitration against Germany at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), housed at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., because of Germany´s decision to phase out nuclear energy. 2 Vattenfall relies on its rights under the Energy Charter Treaty, an international trade and investment agreement in the energy sector. The German Nuclear Phase-Out Put to the Test in International Investment Arbitration? Background to the new dispute Vattenfall vs Germany is the new paper written by Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder & Rhea Tamara Hoffmann, published by TNI, SOMO and Power Shift.

Call for an Alternative Investment Model

Final declaration of the Week of Action against BITs and for an Alternative Investment Regime. Read or download it in English, Spanish or French, and se the lsit of the signatures up to date 6th december 2011. To sign this statement send an email to Cecilia Olivet (TNI)


Week of Action against BITs and for an Alternative Investment Regime

5 – 8 November 2011, Brussels – International investment agreements (IIAs), such as Free Trade Agreements and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), pose a threat to economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, as well as to democracy and people?s sovereignty. It is time to challenge them back and push for an alternative system that makes investment an engine for sustainable development!

S2B Statement

On Monday 12 September the General Affairs Council approved negotiating mandates for investment protection chapters in free trade agreements with Canada, India and Singapore. European Member States refuse necessary reform, ignore the will of the European Parliament and insist that future EU investment agreements copy their bad practices. Read or download the S2B Statement and the text of the mandates.

Update on our struggle for a Just Eu Investment policy

The online petition “No New Corporate Privileges – Change EU Investment Policy Now!” was signed by 2929 people. Also, the statement “Just EU Investment Policy now!” (available in English – Italian – French – Spanish – Dutch – German) was signed by 114 EU civil society organisations, 3 international networks and 65 non-EU organisations(full list here). Both statement and petition were sent to 736 Members of the European Parliament on 4th April. (…)

S2B Statement after European Parliament resolution on international investments

Statement by the Seattle to Brussels Network 6th April 2011: “European Parliament Resolution on international investment not strong enough to end threat to democratic governance and public interests”. Today the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the future European investment policy. This resolution comes as a response to a Communication by the Commission following the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty that has added Foreign Direct Investment to the exclusive common commercial policy of the EU (…)

No New Corporate Privileges – Change EU Investment Policy Now!

Online petition for individuals: No New Corporate Privileges – Change EU Investment Policy Now! in English, German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian

Just EU Investment Policy now!

European civil society calls for a European international investment policy which promotes sustainable development and decent work (English ItalianFrenchSpanishDutchGerman)

To sign on the statement send an e-mail to info(at) writing in the object “Just EU Investment Policy now! – Signature”
Watch the Updated list of the organisations and Networks who signed this statement.

Public interest, social and environmental policies under threat

Change EU investment policy – now is the time! – The European Commission, Council and Parliament are at present discussing the content and directions of the future EU investment policy. Social movements, human rights, development and environmental organisations as well as trade unions must speak out and push for a balanced investment policy that is not merely concerned with investor rights, but holds investors accountable and promotes and protects public interests, human rights and environmental sustainability (read or download the briefing from a series of civil society organisations – EnglishSpanishDutchGermanItalian, French)

S2B Press Release 25th October 2010

S2B Press Release 25th October 2010 – The Council of the European Union (Foreign Affairs) adopts Conclusions on the Communication from the Commission “Towards a comprehensive European international investment policy”

Reclaiming public interest in Europe’s international investment policy

Civil society statement on the future of Europe’s international investment policy (English, Spanish).

To sign this statement write to info(at)