To the European Commission and the EU Trade Ministers
Corporations increasingly use investment tribunals to attack rules that protect people and the environment. The proposals to strengthen this parallel legal system through a global court are therefore deeply worrying.
Please withdraw the plans to establish a “multilateral investment court”, do not agree to new trade and investment agreements with corporate courts, and commit to abolish them in existing agreements.
Why is this important?
A new European Commission proposal would entrench a massive parallel legal system that foreign investors can use to subvert democratic decision making.
A wave of mobilisations against TTIP and CETA  has swept across Europe to stop the spread of this parallel legal systems that allows foreign investors to sue states if democratic decisions affect their profits. Recently, almost 150,000 Europeans took part in a public consultation to reject these unjustified privileges. But instead of abolishing this system, there is now a push to establish it at a global level… and under a different name .
This parallel legal system is different to traditional courts and our democratic judicial systems. It is only accessible to foreign investors and often used to challenge laws big businesses think is affecting their expected profits.
The fear of being sued leads governments to become much more cautious when its decisions could restrict powerful corporations. The corporate courts give them a tool to bully governments into weakening protections or abandon plans for new laws. All of this will be costly – and European citizens and our environment will be paying the bill.
Countries like South Africa, Indonesia and India have shown that it’s possible to get out of dangerous investment treaties, leaving the system behind altogether. If the proposals by the European Commission for a global court go through, they’re likely to sideline more fundamental changes proposed by countries in the Global South.
This new court would increase the power of corporations compared to civil society at a time when the opposite is needed. Governments from the Global South are trying to establish binding and enforceable rules for corporations when it comes to human rights. Instead of strengthening investor privileges, the European Union should support this attempt to hold corporations accountable for human rights violations.
But we have a big opportunity to block this attempt early on. There’s a public consultation before hard negotiations start: we have less than a few days before it ends to make our voices heard against entrenching more privileges for powerful corporations and investors. Let’s use our community’s power to make clear what we think!
 TTIP stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a treaty to be signed with the United States. CETA stands for Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, a treaty to be signed with Canada.
 It is called the Multilateral Investment Court and would create a global court exclusively available to foreign investors to sue governments. According to the EU’s proposal investors could go the new court using existing investment treaties which have proven to be dangerous to public policies aimed at protecting people and the environment.
This action is run in partnership with Friends of the Earth Europe and the Seattle to Brussels Network.
Please can you chip in?
Challenging privileges for foreign investors and corporations is a long-term battle - and an expensive one.
Corporations are throwing everything they have at getting a parallel tribunal that makes them the most money possible. It’ll be hard work to make sure the voices of ordinary people are heard amid the clamour of corporate lobbyists, and we are going to need some experienced campaigners. That means a sustained financial effort.
Can you help us build a fighting fund by chipping in a few euros? Only by acting together can we hope to stop huge corporations.
Thank you for standing for democracy with us. It is only together that we can truly be a force to be reckoned with.