Kastar Malmström ut ISDS ur avtalet med USA?

English version below

På måndag frågas tilltänkta handelskommissionären Cecilia Malmström ut i EU-parlamentet. Och redan nu står det klart att det blir en spännande utfrågning; Igår skrev Malmström att hon kommer att verka för att plocka ut den kontroversiella tvistlösningsmekanismen ISDS ur handelsavtalet med USA (TTIP).

Det var i ett svar till EU-parlamentets handelsutskott inför utfrågningen på måndag som Malmström öppnar för att plocka ut Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) ur avtalet med USA. Mekanismen var varit i skottgluggen under lång tid då den ger möjligheter för företag att, utanför nationella domstolar, stämma stater för demokratiskt fattade beslut som kan leda till bestämmelser som påverkar värdet av företagens investeringar negativt. Kända fall är Vattenfalls stämning av Tyskland för att landet avvecklar kärnkraften, eller tobaksbolaget Phillip Morris stämningar av Uruguay och Australien för att länderna lagstiftar i syfte att skydda folkhälsan.

Det finns dock vissa oklarheter kring gårdagens besked från Malmström. Den socialdemokratiska gruppen i EU-parlamentet, S&D (där svenska S och Fi ingår) slog direkt på stora trumman och välkomnade beskedet i ett pressmeddelande. Däremot verkar Cecilia Malmström själv inte riktigt vara överens med vad hon anses ha sagt. Vad som står i den text som kommit till EU-parlamentet, som den gröna parlamentarikern Sven Giegold lagt upp på sin hemsida, är följande;

This is of course particularly the case of the ongoing negotiations with the United States. As the President-elect Juncker has committed himself to in his Political Guidelines – and I quote –, “the Commission will negotiate a reasonable and balanced trade agreement with the United States of America, in a spirit of mutual and reciprocal benefits and transparency. Europe’s safety, health, social and data protection standards or our cultural diversity will not be sacrificed on the altar of free trade. No limitation of the jurisdiction of courts in the EU Member States will be accepted in this context; this clearly means that no investor-State dispute settlement mechanism will be part of that agreement.” I fully support this approach of the President-elect and will work in this sense in the negotiations, which are ongoing and where this issue is on the table. It will have to be addressed. (sv. kort; Det kommer inte att bli något ISDS i TTIP). 

Det beskedet känns ganska tydligt, men sedan dess har Malmström menat att det inte var en slutgiltig version av hennes svar som skickats ut till EU-parlamentet, och att beskedet om ISDS inte gäller. I en spännande historia, som inkluderar raderade tweets, har Malmström sedan igår kväll försökt ta avstånd från uttalandet. Tysk media har fångat upp historien, men några raka besked från Malmström verkar inte gå att få.

Vi kan nog dock lita kallt på att frågan kommer upp under utfrågningen på måndag. En utfrågning som vi alltså liverapporterar här med start 14.30.

No ISDS in TTIP?

Ahead of the parliamentary hearing on Monday, designated Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström wrote yesterday that she aims to remove the controversial dispute settlement mechanism ISDS from the trade agreement with the United States (TTIP).

It was in a written response to the European Parliament’s trade committee (INTA)that Malmström seems determined to remove the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) from the TTIP-agreement with the United States. The ISDS-mechanism was been under fire for a long time as it provides opportunities for companies to, outside national courts, sue states for new regulation aimed at protecting public health or the environment. Known cases includes the Vattenfall lawsuit against Germany challenging the decision to phase-out nuclear power, and tobacco giant Phillip Morris lawsuits against Uruguay and Australia challenging plain-packaging legislations.

However, there is some confusion about yesterday’s announcement from Malmström. The Socialist Group in the European Parliament, S & D, welcomed the news in a press release. In contrast, Cecilia Malmström herself doesn´t seem to acknowledge her statement. Green MEP Sven Giegold posted the entire written answer on his website. The relevant part read as follows;

This is of course Particularly The Case of the Ongoing Negotiations with the United States. As the President-elect Juncker has committed himself to in his Political Guidelines – and I quote – ”the Commission will negotiate a reasonable and balanced trade agreement with the United States of America, in a spirit of mutual and reciprocal benefits and Transparency. Europe’s Safety, Health, Social and data protection standards or our cultural diversity will not be sacrificed on the altar of free trade. No limitation of the jurisdiction of the courts in the EU Member States will be accepted in this context; Clearly this means That no investor-State dispute settlement mechanism will be part of That agreement. ”I fully support this approach of the President-elect and will work in this sense in the Negotiations, Which are Ongoing and where this issue is on the table . It will have to be Addressed.

The statement seems pretty clear, but Malmström is seemlingly claiming that the version sent to the European Parliament was not final, and that the part about ISDS isn´t applicable. In a fascinating story, which includes deleted tweets, Malmström has since yesterday tried to distance herself from the statement. German media has caught up on the story, however without any qoutes from Malmström.

It seems fairly obvious that the question about ISDS in TTIP (and CETA) will be raised during the hearing on Monday. We will live-report from the hearing, starting at 14.30 (Swedish time).

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