TTIP: judges question legality of investor rights proposal

2 February 2016

Germany's largest association of judges and public prosecutors yesterday publicly criticised the European Commission's Investment Court System, a set of reforms to replace the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism in the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The judges are questioning the legal basis of such system, as well as the need for it to be introduced in the first place.

The European Commission has presented the Investment Court System as a radical new system of investment protection, supposedly establishing a public court to handle disputes. According to the judges, the proposal looks more like a permanent arbitration tribunal.

Friends of the Earth Europe has joined civil society groups to express opposition to the proposal which fails to fundamentally reform the flawed system of investor protection, in particular the granting of exclusive privileges to foreign investors over the rest of society, and ignores the fact that investor rights are not needed in an EU-US agreement.

Paul de Clerck, from Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

"This breakthrough announcement by Germany's largest association of judges and public prosecutors confirms the verdict of civil society: the Investment Court System is deeply flawed, undemocratic, and unacceptable. It also raises serious questions about the legality of the investor-state dispute settlement in the first place, which the European Court of Justice should investigate in relation to upcoming trade deals, such as the EU-Canada CETA."

"The movement throughout Europe against toxic trade deals that promote corporate privileges at the expense of the public interest is growing by the day; it is unstoppable. It is time for the European Commission to take stock and get rid of investors' rights once and for all."