Between 20 and 21 September 2011, 40 ASEAN campaigners and experts met in Manila to share knowledge and experiences, articulate common strategies and discuss alternatives to the current investment regime.
For a TTIP resolution that puts people, the environment and democracy before short-term profit and disproportionate corporate rights. 375 civil society organisations from across Europe call on EU decision-makers to protect citizens, workers, and the environment from the threats it poses.
A clear and plain language guide to the EU's neoliberal investment regime, explaining both the social and environmental costs of prying open poor, vulnerable countries' economies, as well as outlining a number of ethical alternatives.
During the CELAC-EU President Summit in Chile, some Latin American governments rejected the inclusion in the final declaration of the proposed EU wording in support of providing foreign investors legal certainty. To understand why, we need to look at the industry behind investment arbitration.
Representatives of the governments of Austria, France, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands (AFFGN) tabled a proposal, in April, to establish “a multilateral agreement among the [EU] Member States […] which would replace and supersede pre-existing intra-EU BITs”. With this proposal, all EU investors would effectively be able to sue any member state at an international tribunal when they feel government regulations have undermined their (future) profits. This proposal undercuts the very basis of the European Union and is the best example of how the EU has become a vehicle for business rights at the expense of democracy.
Speculative investors are claiming more than 1,7 billion Euros in compensation from Greece, Spain and Cyprus in private international tribunals – for measures implemented to deal with economic crises, a new report released today by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) reveals.
Civil society organisations are writing to express deep concerns about the lack of transparency around the ongoing trade talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). They call on The European Commission to open the negotiation process to the public, by releasing the negotiating mandate, documents submitted by the EU, and negotiating texts.
Corporations, backed by lawyers, use international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing Europe’s crisis countries. While speculators making risky investments are protected, ordinary people have no such protection and – through harsh austerity policies – are being stripped of basic social rights.
When Swiss law professor Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler joined the board of UBS AG, she was sitting on international tribunals judging whether Vivendi Universal SA and another company whose shares UBS held were entitled to damages from Argentina in investment disputes.
In the 2012 report Profiting from Injustice, jointly published by Corporate Europe Observatory and the Transnational Institute, we boldly asserted that law firms, arbitrators and third-party funders have, over the past two decades, helped maintain an investor-biased arbitration system and have fuelled the rise in investor-state disputes.
Signing international investment treaties, in the hope of attracting foreign investments, has been a central strategy for governments looking to improve economic development. The less known side of this story is that by signing investment treaties, governments are giving away the sovereign right to regulate in the interest of people and the environment. They also expose themselves to the risk of spending millions in law suits that could have been used to serve public needs. It’s time that the dark side of investment is put under the spotlight.
In the volatile and fragile context of Myanmar's nascent democratic reform, investment protection treaties must not be allowed to negatively affect processes that would make Myanmar more peaceful and democratic.