Question to the Commission for written answer:
Can the Commission confirm that under the planned TTIP multinational companies will have the right to take legal action against national governments?
Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission (15.9.2014)
Investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is a means of enforcing the limited number of investment protection standards that protect against discrimination, expropriation without compensation and unfair or inequitable treatment (i.e. denial of justice or of due process, coercion, manifest arbitrariness).
The negotiating directives adopted unanimously by the Council state that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should include provisions on investment protection accompanied with ISDS rules, provided that certain conditions are met. If agreed, the relevant TTIP provisions would replace, at EU-level, the nine investment agreements in force between the US and some EU Member States, all of which contain ISDS.
No concrete text proposals on ISDS have been exchanged so far between the parties negotiating the TTIP. The Commission will first evaluate the results of the recently concluded public consultation on investment protection and ISDS in the TTIP, before any negotiations on these in the TTIP takes place.
It should be noted that companies can already take legal actions against governments before international tribunals, such as the European Court of Human Rights. Investors can do this on the basis of a system of ISDS. There are some 1,400 investment agreements including investor-to-state dispute settlement with third countries concluded by EU Member States in force and more than 3,000 such agreements globally containing ISDS.