New Malmström TTIP proposals are ‘a smokescreen’

6 May 2015

New Malmström TTIP proposals are ‘a smokescreen’

Foto: Nemo

Proposals for a new arbitration system in the free trade treaty with the United States are no more than a smokescreen, SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur said today during a meeting with European Commissioner for External Trade Cecilia Malmström. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is the most controversial aspect of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and a possible stumbling block in the negotiations. Yet the revised version presented today by Malmström does nothing to address the fundamental objections.

‘What’s still lacking,’ said Mineur, ‘is proof of any need for a separate dispute settlement system. ISDS represents a complete withdrawal from the existing system of law, and the Commission gives no motivation whatsoever for this. The danger of conflicts of interest is scarcely reduced, and Malmström proposes nothing beyond a code of conduct for members of the arbitration panel. Judges have permanent contracts and fixed salaries and must follow clear rules governing any additional jobs they might take on the side, but none of this will apply to the arbiters, a difference which is hard to explain. Moreover, the fact that the Commission doesn’t want to force investors to submit their case first to the national legal system but simply allow them to choose at will puts national investors at a major disadvantage.’

‘All in all,’ said Mineur, ‘the proposals create the strong impression that Malmström is throwing up a smokescreen while the fundamental criticisms of the ISDS which the European Parliament has expressed are not being taken seriously. As far as I’m concerned these proposals can go straight into the waste paper basket.’

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