On Wednesday 8 July, the European Parliament is likely to take an important vote on the controversial TTIP trade agreement between the EU and the US (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership). But a last-minute compromise deal poses a real risk that our MEPs give away too much at this important stage of negotiations.
TTIP is a long way from being concluded yet, but this vote is a crucial opportunity for our elected representatives in Europe to tell the European Commission’s negotiators they must not permit trade deals that are bad for working people.
A particular concern in TTIP is the notorious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. ISDS gives foreign firms extra legal powers to challenge governments. In the past it has been used by companies to sue governments for increasing minimum wages, renationalising health services or protecting the environment.
Things were looking promising last month, when campaigning MEPs were about to press for stronger measures against ISDS. But now the amendments that sought to strike out ISDS have been replaced by a last-minute compromise amendment, brought by the President of the European Parliament, and several European party groupings.
The deal's backers say this ISDS-lite plan rules out the worst excesses of ISDS. But we're concerned it leaves intact the fundamentally bad idea that foreign investors should get a privileged route to massive compensation payments when democratically-elected governments do something that, it could be argued in court, affects the profits of a multinational company.
Please can you help by writing to your MEP about the new compromise on ISDS?
Issued: 2 July, 2015