EU Parliament EPP group in favour of ISDS

The European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest group in the European Parliament, is in favour of investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). I will discuss their position and conclude it creates three risks. First, it risks subjecting the EU to a corrupt adjudicative system. Second, it risks undermining the EU court’s exclusive jurisdiction over the definitive interpretation of EU law. Third, it risks crashing upcoming EU trade agreements. Continue Reading →

Seven things you should know about EU-Singapore ISDS

In October 2014 the European Commission published the draft text of the EU-Singapore trade agreement (EUSFTA) investment chapter. It contains investment protection rules for foreign investors and the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which gives foreign investors special rights in conflicts with governments. Seven things you should know about this investment chapter:

1. The agreement creates a lock-in. Unlike most investment agreements ratified by European countries, it is not a stand-alone investment treaty, from which parties can withdraw. Continue Reading →

EU liberals seem ready to sacrifice our democracy

Marietje Schaake, the European Parliament’s liberal group’s (ALDE) spokesperson on the trade agreement with the US (TTIP) published a blog on investor-state arbitration (ISDS). I will discuss her arguments below; to avoid cherry picking, I will quote her whole blog (for the links and images see her blog). I conclude that a majority of the European Parliament liberal group seems ready to sacrifice the separation of powers, and democracy, for no good reason. As things stand now, the liberals won’t fight for our democracy. Schaake:

“ISDS – what’s going on? Continue Reading →

FFII submission to Ombudsman consultation on openness in TTIP negotiations

Foundation for a Free information Infrastructure (FFII) submission to the European Ombudsman public consultation in relation to the transparency of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. The submission has a focus on the EU’s human rights obligations. The international human rights obligations (ICCPR and ICESCR) may be relevant for other countries as well, such as TPP countries. FFII submission: pdf, html
Continue Reading →

Meshcon FashionTec Week 2014 in Berlin

The first Meshcon FashionTec Week took place from October 10-15, 2014 in Berlin with the support of the FFII e.V. The event attracted 23 speakers from around the world and gathered hundreds of attendees from the technology and fashion community. The FFII invited software engineers, creative minds and fashion hackers to the MeshCon 14’ in Berlin. The technology week is organised in cooperation with the TU Berlin, BBW, Wikimedia and the Mozilla Community. The Meshcon is about local production, design and distribution of textiles in a way that reaps the full benefit of the digital dividend. The goal of the event was to explore the benefits of participatory production in the textile industry. Continue Reading →

Who leaked about Juncker and Malmström fighting over ISDS?

Last week the Dutch newspaper NRC revealed a fight between Juncker and Malmström over ISDS. The article (paywall) sketched the context: uninformed activists gaining influence. The article suggested Juncker without good reason giving in. As Juncker does not gain anything with this leak about the fight, I assume proponents of ISDS leaked, and had the ear of the reporter, so they could sketch the context. The newspaper did not give civil society a rebuttal: very bad journalism, endangering our democracy. Continue Reading →

EU Parliament promises to better register its decisions

In 2011 the FFII discovered that some European Parliament decisions regarding the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) were not recorded in any known document. A hidden class of documents (“coordinators’ minutes”) seemed to exist, but the Parliament denied the existence. The FFII filed a complaint with the European Ombudsman. The ombudsman found a systemic failure regarding the listing of documents in the Parliament’s registry of documents. In response, the Parliament took measures to better comply with EU law. Continue Reading →

11 October action day against TTIP, CETA and TISA

This Saturday 11 October 2014, in hundreds of European cities, civil society organisations, unions and farmers will organise manifestations against EU trade agreements under negotiation. The manifestations regard the Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) with many countries. The secret negotiations create serious risks for privacy, reform of copyright and patent law, labor rights and the environment, and may give companies excessive power in conflicts with states. See also the Statement of Concern on investor-to-state arbitration by over 110 scholars. Continue Reading →

ISDS out?

OpenDemocracy reports about the back and forth confusion during Commissioner hearings recently:

At 16:01 they [Tagesspiegel] publish an article on their website: Juncker will drop ISDS from TTIP, this is the policy of the incoming Commission. It becomes more an more likely that the controversial enforcement of TTIP and CETA with ISDS instruments would be resolved. This would enable the public to focus more on the substance of the envisaged agreements. Continue Reading →

Steinbrück: Nobody knows what has been negotiated

Peer Steinbrück, Member of the Bundestag, Chair of the German-U.S. Parliamentary Friendship Group, and former German Federal Minister of Finance

Moderator: Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes, Global Attitudes Project, Pew Research Center, Non-Resident Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States Continue Reading →

Digital Minds & Fashion Makers gather at MeshCon from 10-15 October in Berlin

Berlin, 26 September 2014 – The FFII invites software engineers, creative minds and fashion hackers to the MeshCon 14’ in Berlin. The technology week is organised in cooperation with the TU Berlin, BBW, Wikimedia and the Mozilla Community. The gathering is about local production, design and distribution of textiles in a way that reaps the full benefit of the digital dividend. More than 23 Speakers from 12 countries will talk about digital makeovers of knitting machines, open-source-pattern making software, their latest web start-ups, the digital design studio and wearables. FFII president Benjamin Henrion (BE) contributes a talk on the use of cheap wireless chipsets for wearables. Continue Reading →