Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has called on all Irish MEPs to reject the proposal to create a secret corporate court included in a report on the EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement, to be voted in the European Parliament tomorrow Wednesday, as part of a package establishing an EU-Singapore free trade agreement.
Speaking form Strasbourg, Carthy said: “Tomorrow’s votes on the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, and the accompanying Investment Protection Agreement, are crucial. No matter how the Commission tries to re-package, spin and sell the investor-state dispute settlement clause, the fact remains that this provision will give multinational corporations the right to sue elected governments for enacting policies they don’t like.
“The mass movement across Europe against TTIP and CETA gave the Commission pause for a period, but their response to the popular anger at corporate courts changes nothing. While CETA has been provisionally applied, but yet to have the ISDS mechanism ratified by Member States, the EU is now pushing for a so-called permanent ‘multilateral investment court’ at the United Nations level, with an appeal mechanism and full-time adjudicator.
“However they dress it up, such a mechanism still provides corporations with the power to sue governments that implement policies that may impact on their expected future profits, and be awarded damages; it still amounts to corporate justice and socialised risk.
“In any case, the provision we are voting on tomorrow in the deal with Singapore - Asia’s biggest tax haven - is basically a traditional investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism that will supposedly be ‘incorporated’ into a future multilateral investment court.
“This ISDS mechanism is the one that has been used by tobacco giant Philip Morris to sue governments for introducing plain packaging of cigarettes, as well as countless other corporations objecting to things like increases in the minimum wage or bans on fracking.
“Because the European Court of Justice has already published an opinion in 2017 that found an ISDS mechanism was not solely a Commission competence, but also needed to be ratified by all EU Member States, the Singapore agreement has been split into two separate votes - one on the free trade agreement and one on the investment protection agreement.
“Fine Gael MEPs have enthusiastically supported the corporate court system in CETA in both the European Parliament and the Seanad. Fianna Fáil abstained on the vote when the Seanad rejected CETA, and the voting records of some Independent MEPs have been shaky and inconsistent on this issue.
“All Irish MEPs need to vote against the ISDS tomorrow, and all Irish representatives need to do the same if it comes before the Dáil. Secret corporate courts are an unacceptable attack on democracy and the ability of elected governments to legislate for the public good.”