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10/07/2014

Will TTIP stop European countries from adopting alcohol policies in the future?

Eurocare submitted its response to the European Commission consultation on the controversial ISDS mechanism in TTIP.

Eurocare appreciates the European Commission efforts to counter the criticisms to Investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism and the steps it has taken improve the transparency of the negotiation process.

Nevertheless, from the public health perspective serious concerns remain about the ‘regulatory chill’ effect. International investment agreements need to ensure that the country hosting an investment maintains the right to take measures for the public good without the fear of being sued.

Eurocare is deeply concerned that the provisions in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the protection ISDS offers to private companies will lead to large claims filed by alcohol companies (under the ISDS mechanism) that will effectively stop governments from introduction of new alcohol policies i.e. labelling, marketing restrictions, fiscal measures etc.

Over the last years an unusually high number of cases (almost half of the total) were filled against developed States, most of theses the Member States of the European Union. In 2013 the greatest numbers of cases were brought against countries in Europe (26 cases, of which two are against countries not member of the EU).

In 2013, there were at least two instances where a measure or a set of related measures, gave rise to more than one claim. More specifically, the same change in energy regulations in the Czech Republic resulted in seven separate claims against it. Similarly, Spain faced 6 separate cases in which investors challenge the same government regulations that adversely affected solar energy producers.

This raises a question whether the ISDS mechanism is truly serving its original purpose or whether it has become a mechanism for companies to attempt stop public policies which they deem inconvenient.

Furthermore, there remain serious concerns regarding the Arbitrators in the ISDS system. They are not held to the same standards as those of Member States judicial systems, the national courts in the instance of both the EU and the US have more checks and balances in place.

Compared to the EU and US judicial systems, ISDS mechanism appears not well established and constructed in a manner not designed for agreement of the scale of TTIP.

This poses a fundamental question why does the EC consider that ISDS mechanism between two highly developed blocks with complex and well established judicial system is necessary?

The EU and U.S. as well developed democracies with high standards of legitimacy and transparency should not subject themselves to a flawed system of corporate arbitration.

Eurocare would strongly recommend for the exclusion of ISDS from the TTIP agreement.

For Eurocare full response please click below

Eurocare response to ISDS in TTIP consultation

Eurocare members responses to consultation on ISDS in TTIP

ANPAA (Assocation Nationale de Prevention en Alcoologie et Addictologie)

TTIP_ANPAA_reponse_ClaudeR : 72.49 kB

IOGT International

Final IOGTInt ISDS TTIP online consultation 2014 : 618.66 kB

Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention

TTIP_EHYT_final : 358.43 kB

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

SHAAP ISDS in TTIP consultation response : 597.73 kB