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Will the EU-US trade deal encourage attacks on the public interest?

Location: 
Résidence Palace – International Press Centre, Brussels – Polak Room
Date: 
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 14:00 to 16:00

 

Public discussion of civil society with MEPs, Council & Commission

In June, the EU and the US will launch negotiations for a far-reaching free trade and investment agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). As part of this deal, the European Commission and the US government want to negotiate a so called investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism.

This would allow US companies investing in Europe to skirt European courts and directly challenge EU governments at international tribunals – whenever they find that laws in the area of public health, environmental, labour or social protection interfere with their profits. EU companies investing abroad would have the same privilege in the US.

Investor-state disputes can result in awards for monetary compensation reaching millions of Euros, sometimes for democratically-made laws to protect the environment, public health, labour rights and social welfare. In some cases, governments have abandoned or weakened legislation because such lawsuits were brought or threatened.

Trade unions, consumer, environmental and other public interest groups are extremely concerned about the plans to include an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in the proposed future EU-US deal. We urge for a broad discussion and rethinking of this approach.

Join us for a debate on the issue with the following speakers & inputs:

  • Undermining democracy – why EU and US attempts to negotiate investment treaties pose a threat to the public interest
    (Thea Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff, US trade union federation AFL-CIO and co-chair of the Subcommittee on the Model US Bilateral Investment Treaty of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy)
  • It’s investor-state, stupid – why EU and US investment protection reform proposals won’t be enough to protect consumers, workers and the environment
    (Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch)
  • Reactions from MEPs: Elmar Brok (EPP, tbc), Bernd Lange (S&D), Franziska Keller (Greens)
  • Reactions from EU member state (N.N.) & the European Commission (Leopoldo Rubinacci, Head of the Investment Unit of DG Trade)

The discussion will be in English. It will be chaired by Pia Eberhardt, Corporate Europe Observatory.

Please register for the event with an email to the S2B coordinator: bruno.ciccaglione [at] alice.it

Organised by:

  • AK EUROPA (the Brussels office of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour),
  • ÖGB Europabüro (the Brussels office of the Austrian Trade Union Confederation),
  • the Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B) and
  • the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)
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