EU Commission setting dangerous trade precedent without debate - Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has called on Tánaiste & Trade Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, to ensure a full public debate on the proposed EU Investor Court before public services are put at risk. Commenting on reports that EU and Japan are due to reach a final agreement on a Free Trade Agreement his week, Carthy said:
“Although the text of the EU-Japan FTA has yet to be published, the Commission has already announced that the text will include an Investment Court through which disputes will be settled.
“The Commission seems intent on establishing this multilateral court without any democratic mandate. There has yet to be a Dáil debate on this provision despite the dangerous and serious implications such a court will have for Irish democratic and judicial structures.
“Last week it was reported that Canada has been sued 39 times by foreign companies since NAFTA was concluded in 1994. 60% of these claims targeted environmental regulations or resource management policies including water, wind and forest management.
“As a result of these law suits, over $200m of tax payers’ money has been handed over to private companies for loss of profits, or expectations of profits as a result of legislation in the public interest. Not only is this an outrageous confiscation of public money, but it also gives an idea of the chilling effect that these law suits can have.
“It would be the difference between ensuring a public health system that guarantees equal access for all, or a system that prioritises the profits of private companies.
“The possibility that foreign companies could sue the Irish state on our policies against issues such as fracking, are all too real. The new court structure is included in all EU ‘new generation’ trade deals including the CETA agreement with Canada.
“It is unacceptable that the Tánaiste continues to refuse a Dáil debate on this issue and continues to give a mandate to the European Commission to establish a multilateral court that would take away powers bestowed on our national courts by our Constitution.
“I will again be writing to the Tánaiste to ensure a debate on the contents of the EU-Japan trade agreement as soon as possible after its publication.”