Bilateral Investment Treaties: Public interest, social and environmental policies under threat

14 April 2011

Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) erode the ability of governments to act in the best interests of their citizens by allowing foreign investors to sue sovereign states when governments' social, environmental and economic regulations have affected their profits. TNI, as part of the Seattle to Brussels network, is campaigning for a Just EU Investment policy that puts corporate accountability and human rights above corporate profits!

Since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009, the competence to negotiate international investment agreements has shifted from individual member states to the European Union (EU). The Lisbon treaty provided an ideal opportunity for the EU to develop a new investment policy that changes the balance back in favour of citizens and the environment. Instead, the EU decided to copy the bad practices of its member states, which focus only on the protection of investors abroad without any consideration of the social and environmental responsibilities of European corporations.
 
European Parliament resolution on international investment not strong enough to end threat to democratic governance and public interests
Statement by the Seattle to Brussels network about the resolution of the European Parliament on international investment, April 2011
 
Civil society statement calling for "Just EU Investment Policy now!"
Available in English - Italian - French - Spanish - Dutch - German. Signed by 114 EU civil society organisations, 3 international networks and 65 non-EU organisations. April 2011
 
EU Investment Briefing: Change EU investment policy - now is the time!
January 2011

EU Investment Agreements in the Lisbon Treaty Era: A Reader
July 2010

>All material on BITS

 

Recent publications from Trade & Investment

TTIP Why the Rest of the World should Beware

Why should human rights, environmental and consumer advocate organizations all over the world that are working toward a world different from the corporate-led neoliberal dogma, pay special attention to TTIP?

International Investment Agreements Under Scrutiny

Citizens and policy makers around the world are increasingly questioning the trade agreement system, especially the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) that enables foreign investors to bypass the legal system of host states and sue governments before private tribunals for any policy, democratically passed law, or judgment of a court that adversely affects them.

 

Law’s Empire of Austerity

The neoliberal free market has been 'constitutionalised' through law in Europe and elsewhere as a way to prevent challenges to financial and corporate power. The new technocracy put in place poses a serious danger to  democracy and freedom.

Socialising Losses, Privatising Gains

Dutch investment treaties (BITs) are frequently used by foreign companies to sue governments in the North and South for policies that might harm their future profits. 75% of these cases were brought by mailbox companies with no real economic substance in the Netherlands, making use of the vast web of Dutch BITs and the rights and protection given to foreign investors.