MEP Matt Carthy has welcomed what is described as a ‘hugely significant ruling’ by the Court of Justice of the European Union this morning, Tuesday 6th March.
The court has found that arbitration tribunals, established exclusively for investors, which do not form part of a national judicial system, are incompatible with EU law.
Carthy said that this will have serious implications for the regressive trade agenda being pursued by the European Commission and provided with enthusiastic support by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael despite the fact that the inclusion of an Investment Court likely infringes the Irish Constitution and could be detrimental to Irish interests in the areas of farming, business, environmental regulation and workers rights.
The ruling could result in the unravelling of deals such as the Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement (CETA), which allows for a Court which would facilitate private investors to sue states for loss of business and earnings.
Tuesday’s ruling came in a case involving a private sickness insurance company which sued the State of Slovakia for financial damage worth €22m when Slovakia reversed liberalisation of its sickness insurance market and prohibited the distribution of profits generated by sickness insurance.
Speaking following the announcement of the ruling, Matt Carthy MEP said:
“This is a hugely significant development. The ruling that Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are incompatible with EU law, sets a hopeful precedent for the similar system included in the Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement (CETA) and proposed for other deals such as TTIP and Mercosur.
“ISDS is not only an unfair tool, allowing multinational corporations to obstruct public-interest decision making, but has now conclusively been deemed incompatible with EU Treaties and the EU’s legal order.
“There are many parallels to be drawn with the new multilateral investment court being proposed by the European Commission.
“The arguments that these Tribunals, established exclusively for wealthy investors outside national and EU judicial systems, cannot ensure full effectiveness of EU law, equally applies to any Investment Court system.
“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have refused to engage in the debate surrounding these dangerous trade deals for the last number of years.
“Fianna Fáil submitted a Private Members Bill in June 2017 essentially handing the Government a blank cheque to continue advocating for the regressive EU trade agenda that has accelerated the establishment of this new international court and is clearly in conflict with Irish interests in the areas of farming, business, environmental regulation and workers rights.
“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have lined up with corporate vested interests globally and against the interests of Irish citizens, environmental concerns, farmers and SMEs.
“I stand by my view that the creation of a Multilateral Permanent Investment Court, removed from any national accountability, for the benefit of international investors and multinational corporations, infringes the Irish Constitution and will be to the detriment of citizens, the judicial system and Irish sovereignty.
“Successive Ministers have refused to meet me on this issue and refused calls for a Referendum in their mistaken belief that such a court would not overturn legislation passed by the Oireachtas. The judgement this morning revokes just that argument.
“It is high time Fine Gael stopped acting as cheerleaders for the Commission on this issue and instead acted as defenders of Irish interests.
“It is time to withdraw Irish Government support for CETA and to demand a halt to all trade negotiations, including those with Mercosur countries, which are pivoted on these dangerous investment courts.
“I will be writing to the Minister Heather Humphreys to again request a meeting on the constitutional ramifications of this judgement.”