For fairer and more democratic societies, people need to claim control over the EU’s trade and investment policy processes. We need to change EU’s trade and investment policies and the way in which decisions are made.
Free trade or slave trade? How the EU's free trade agreements in Colombia and Peru reward human rights abuses, destroy livelihoods, promote land grabbing and strip governments of their sovereignty to regulate capital flows.
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.
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.
Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla, Joseph Purugganan
24 May 2016
Mining firms have been one of the main corporate sectors worldwide to take advantage of investor-state dispute mechanisms to sue states for regulation of mining, having sued governments for a total of USD 53 billion so far. The Philippines, one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves, has a web of investment treaties which severely constrain the government's ability to regulate or close polluting mines. This legal straitjacket will become even tighter if the EU–Philippines Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) proceed.
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.
An exciting development in recent years is the number of new South-South inter-governmental alliances that are emerging to defend their interests and challenge the bias of the current global trade and investment regime.
The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause present in many trade treaties give investors far-reaching protection, curtailing governments’ ability to regulate for progressive agrarian and agricultural policies and reinforcing the notion of land as a commodity.
The BRICS have played an important role at moments in slowing down neoliberal trade policy, but do not depart from a global trade model that has yielded great profits for a few major transnational companies and witnessed a race to the bottom in term of wages, working conditions, and environmental protection.
The secretive and lucrative world of international investment arbitration has enriched a small coterie of multi-billion dollar international firms, which actively promote and even help finance litigations against states and have fought fiercely to prevent changes to an unjust international investment regime.
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.
Dark Victory reveals the roots of rising poverty and inequality in the South in a sweeping strategy of global economic rollback unleashed by the US to shore up the North's domination of the international economy and reassert corporate control.
Cecilia Olivet, Timothé Feodoroff, Pia Eberhardt, Emma Lui, Stuart Trew
13 May 2013
As European Union (EU) member states consider the implications of environmentally risky shale gas development (fracking), negotiations are underway for a controversial EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which would grant investors the right to challenge governments’ decision to ban and regulate fracking.
By the end of August 2019, African States had been hit by a total of 106 known investment treaty arbitration claims. This represents 11% of all known investor-state disputes worldwide. Between 2013 and 2018, there has been an unprecedented boom of claims against African governments. During these last six years, they received more investor claims than the previous 20 years combined. This paper exposes how the international investment regime affects African countries.
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.
A series of provocative essays by leading researchers and activists on three crucial questions: what kind of development should new global economic institutions promote, what are the viable alternatives to the World Bank and IMF and what other global economic institutions are needed to promote a more just trading order with greater social and ecological responsibility.
Review of 15 years of Asia European Peoples' Forum reveals its crucial role as the only permanent network and forum linking Asian and European movements and organisations, but also calls for reform to strengthen its work in the future.