This year provides a rare opportunity to end some of the most outrageous rights enjoyed by big business: the investor-state dispute settlement system or ISDS. Under ISDS corporations and the rich have sued governments for billions of euros – for anything from introducing health warnings on cigarettes to banning dirty oil drilling. Campaigners and social movements are uniting in 2019 to put an end to this parallel justice system for big business.
Whenever a government passes a law which could potentially affect profits, the ISDS system enables companies to hit back with lawsuits for damages - often worth billions of euros. Under the ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) system, corporations have already sued countries for anything from introducing health warnings on cigarettes to placing a moratorium on fracking.
Fresh opposition has been voiced against a highly controversial EU policy negotiation overseen by the new Romanian EU Presidency in the coming weeks: 160 mayors, parties, trade unions and NGOs, including Corporate Europe Observatory, today wrote to the Presidency to underline their strong concerns about the ‘Services Notification Procedure’.
Coal garnered much media attention, thanks to the Polish Government and US President Trump’s support. But it was the gas industry that really stunk up the conference, its influence seeping into all corners of the negotiating halls. Luckily activists and communities were present to call industry out and demand real solutions.
Getting a good data transparency legislation for food safety in the EU is now within reach, following EU Parliament vote on General Food Law reform.
Lobbying around the EU Copyright Directive has been intense: big-budget tech platforms led by Google as well as tech industry trade associations on one side, historically important collecting societies, the creative industries and publishers on the other. The interests and opinions of citizens have become sidelined in the resulting turmoil.
Czech journalist and Corporate Europe Observatory board member Jakub Patočka explains what the rise of oligarchs and the demise of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe have to do with EU funding.
A seemingly innocent concept, the “innovation priniciple” has been invented by some of the dirtiest industries in Europe. They have carefully and strategically inserted it into the EU system, where it could have a significant impact on the shaping of new EU legislation or policies, and those under revision.
Climate change and biodiversity losses loom large on the list of global environmental concerns. Both UN processes for adressing these issues – the UNFCCC for climate change and the UN CBD for biodiversity – are closely followed by corporate lobbyists. Now the UN Biodiversity Convention finally features conflict of interest rules – a step still not matched by the UNFCCC.
The slogan of this year's climate talks is “black to green” - appropriate, given the dirty energy companies that are bankrolling the conference. While the sponsors hide behind green branding, their core business models depend on coal, oil and gas, and are therefore absolutely incompatible with the Paris Agreement, let alone a planet still habitable in the future.
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