How ISDS corporate privileges risk to undermine community struggles
In spring 2019, Corporate Europe Observatory toured around Europe to find out more about the impact of corporate courts on community struggles against corporate power. We met inspiring people who fought toxic gold mines, dirty oil drilling and greedy luxury real estate projects. Now, costly investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) lawsuits risk to reverse their community victories.
Suing to force through the toxic Roşia Montană goldmine
For 20 years, residents of the beautiful Romanian town "Roşia Montană" have fought plans to build a toxic gold mine, which would have destroyed their home and the environment. They stopped the project in court, where the mine was declared illegal. But now Canadian company Gabriel Resources is suing Romania in an international tribunal, seeking US$5.7 billion in compensation – nearly 3% of Romania’s GDP.
Dirty oil vs beautiful Abruzzo
After a decade-long inspiring fight, the citizens of the Italian region of Abruzzo won an important battle against the oil industry: they stopped the Ombrina Mare oil project, which would have had a huge impact on the environment and the climate. The government agreed to pass a new law banning oil drilling near the Italian coast. But now, Big Oil is fighting back, suing Italy for up to 350 million dollars in compensation.
Dubrovnik Golf Wars
For 13 years, the citizens of Dubrovnik have opposed the construction of a luxury resort on the hill overlooking their city. Ultimately, the project was stopped by Croatian courts. But the company behind it is now suing Croatia in the ISDS parallel justice system for corporations, seeking $500 million in compensation - and trying to silence the community in local courts.