• Dansk
  • NL
  • EN
  • FI
  • FR
  • DE
  • EL
  • IT
  • NO
  • PL
  • PT
  • RO
  • SL
  • ES
  • SV

Court ruling over privileged access for business in EU-India free trade talks

Judgement to be delivered in Luxembourg

The EU's General Court has announced a date for the judgement in Corporate Europe Observatory's legal action, suing the European Commission for withholding information related to the EU’s free trade talks with India. The Commission is accused of discriminating in favour of corporate lobby groups and of violating the EU’s transparency rules. The judgement will be delivered in Luxembourg on 7 June 2013.

The lawsuit (T-93/11) concerns 17 documents related to the ongoing EU-India free trade negotiations. The Commission shared all of these documents in full with corporate lobby groups such as BusinessEurope. But Corporate Europe Observatory only received censored versions, with allegedly sensitive information about priorities, tactics and strategies in the negotiations deleted.

In an oral hearing in Luxembourg in January 2013, the Commission defended its practice, arguing that it was “fully justified” to censor the documents as their public disclosure would undermine the EU’s relations with India and in particular the ongoing negotiations for an EU-India free trade agreement (FTA).

But how can documents that the Commission has already shared with the business community at large suddenly become confidential and a threat to the EU’s international relations when a public interest group asks for their disclosure? This is the core question raised by the lawsuit.

What is at stake

The judgement comes as the EU and India are trying to sort out final differences in the FTA negotiations in technical level talks between the two sides in Brussels this week.

The negotiations, which started in 2007, have been shrouded in secrecy, with no text or position as yet disclosed to the public. Yet, there are major concerns prompted by the scant information that has emerged that the EU-India FTA will in fact fuel poverty, inequality and environmental destruction. And that the EU Commission and the Indian government have effectively handed the negotiating agenda over to big business (watch the video Trade Invaders).

Resistance has been particularly strong in India where the main opposition parties, industry bodies, street traders, farmers’ organisations and patient groups have voiced concerns over the proposed agreement for some time now.

What is at stake in the lawsuit is whether the Commission can continue its habit of granting big business privileged access to its trade policy-making process by sharing information that is withheld from the public. This practice not only hampers well-informed and meaningful public participation in EU trade policy-making, it also leads to a trade policy that, while catering for big business needs, is harmful to people and the environment in the EU and the world.

Read about the case in detail:

Attached files: 



Exposing the lobbying of big business costs money. Would you consider a donation to help us continue? We refuse funding from the EU, governments, political parties and corporations to be as independent as possible, so every single donation really helps. Thanks!




Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Stop ISDS campaign 2019

Two years after the suspension of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), EU member states and the European Commission are preparing mandates for new trade negotiations with the US. Once again corporate lobby groups are working to set the agenda for the talks, while the Commission covers over its links with big business.

Today, more than 60 international, European and national civil society groups have called on European decision makers to uphold the Paris Agreement and not mandate new trade negotiations with the USA.

"Wait a minute. I don’t really get what ISDS is. ...." Here is our straightforward "What is What" on Investor-State Dispute Settlement - and why it's so dangerous.

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. Citizens, 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.

Get our monthly newsletter

Follow us on social media

Lobby Planet 2017 banner