The European Commission’s public consultation on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) drew nearly 150 000 responses. The Commission was struck by the demonstration of citizen engagement that the consultation raised, and the massive number of responses paralysed the IT system of the Commission.
“We got almost 100,000 posts, many of them identical,” commented the EU Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht. “That was an outright attack,” he added. “The fact that so many responses are identical speaks for a coordinated action.”
The statement is rather contradictory to the Commission’s press release introducing the consultation, published in January 2014, in which the Commissioner highlights his commitment to hearing citizens’ concerns related to ISDS:
“I know some people in Europe have genuine concerns about this part of the EU-US deal. Now I want them to have their say. “
TTIP and its ISDS clause have provoked significant opposition from civil society. It has been critisised for transferring power from independent, legitimate courts, such as European Court of Human Rights, to international arbitration tribunals whose independence and neutrality are highly questionable.
In addition to submitting its own response to the ISDS consultation, EDRi contributed to the process by publishing an answering guide and an online form to help people understand the details of the agreement, and to draft their responses.
Despite categorising the responses as an attack, De Gucht announced that the Commission will examine the contributions and discuss them with the European Parliament and the Member States.
Commission to consult European public on provisions in EU-US trade deal on investment and investor-state dispute settlement (21.01.2014)
TTIP Update XXXIII – 150,000 ISDS Submissions (21.07.2014)
De Gucht speaks of attack – objectors of TTIP paralyse EU Commission (only in German, 19.07.2014)
Online public consultation on investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP)
EDRi: EDRi’s response to the ISDS consultation (18.07.2014)
EDRi: Answering guide to the European Commission’s consultation on ISDS (24.06.2014)
EDRi: Flawed Dutch government study on ISDS (02.07.2014)