Campaigners from across Europe have expressed disappointment that the European Parliament passed the EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement (EUSIPA) today in a 436-203 vote.
The agreement was controversial as it envisages reviving a form of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) – a parallel system of tribunals that activists say allow multinationals to bully governments into abandoning beneficial regulation in areas like workers rights and the environment.
A coalition involving over 200 trade unions, NGOs and social movements had mobilised over half a million EU citizens to sign a petition rejecting ISDS in the run up to the vote.
Alex Scrivener, coordinator for the Stop ISDS campaign said:
“MEPs today made a big mistake. They passed an agreement that brings ISDS – a discredited system that was all but dead– back from the grave in the form of a rebranded ‘Investor Court System’.
“MEPs have been conned into thinking this is a new system. It is not. Aside from some piecemeal reforms around transparency – it is just ISDS with lipstick on.”
“The implication of allowing this agreement to pass could be dire for EU governments. ISDS has been used to sue governments for doing everything from passing environmental regulations on coal power stations to freezing water tariffs. ISDS threatens the Paris Agreement on climate change and everything from workers rights to food safety protections. There is nothing sacred in the world of ISDS. Unlike some other similar agreements, EUSIPA even allows companies shown to be involved in fraud and corruption to use the system”
“Thankfully it is not too late to change course. The power to stop EUSIPA – and this dangerous revival of the failed ISDS system with it – is in the hands of national legislatures. If even one fails to ratify the deal, then we will be saved from what can only be described as a corporate stitch-up. National parliaments must now step up where MEPs have failed.”