For around 13 years, on the Dutch Trade and Investment Board (a body that is not familiar to most of the Dutch public) top civil servants and company lobbyists have been discussing how the government can support the country’s international trade. Minutes reveal how lobbyists and ministers collaborated in reforming fiscal and development policies in favour of private interests. It’s an example of the power of ‘quiet politics’ of company lobbyists in the Netherlands, calling into question the country’s image as an exemplar of liberal, consensual corporatism.
Last year the European Commission announced plans to establish a Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) in its attempt to reform the investment arbitration system, known as ISDS. However, the proposal has received little public scrutiny so far. Now five civil society organisations are organising a public event with international experts to discuss the MIC and examine alternative approaches.