Pietje Vervest, Timothé Feodoroff, Giorgina Garibotto et al.
06 March 2014
A briefing that explores how a trade agreement currently being negotiated between the US and the EU could open the way to multi-billion euro lawsuits from companies wanting to expand “fracking” for shale gas and oil.
Corporations in Western Europe are suing Central and Eastern European countries at international arbitration tribunals through a vast web of intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs). Yet while the European Commission has questioned the validity of these BITs, Netherlands, Germany, and the UK, oppose their termination.
Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) allow transnational corporations to by-pass domestic courts and sue sovereign states - costing tax payers millions in legal expenses and preventing governments from acting in the best interests of their citizens.
The case of Newmont Mining vs Indonesia is a powerful example of how investment agreements are used by companies to get exemptions from government regulations and legislation, undermining democracy and development.
In March 2014 the European Commission received the negotiation mandate from the EU member States to start negotiating an Investment treaty with Myanmar. But what do BITS mean in practice? Is it in the best interest of the Myanmar public?
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.