Politico | 10 September 2017
Juncker ready to ditch investment protection in EU trade deals
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wants to drop bilateral investment protection in new trade deals with Australia and New Zealand and instead push for a Multilateral Investment Court.
EU Commissioners are set to adopt proposals Tuesday for starting trade talks with Canberra and Wellington under a new fast-track approach, which carves out the provisions on investment protection that require the approval of some 40 national and regional parliaments across Europe.
Instead of putting these investment protection clauses into separate agreements with the Australasian countries, as expected, the Commission aims to start talks on a Multilateral Investment Court to handle investor-state disputes at a global level, according to the agenda of Tuesday’s weekly Commissioner’s meeting seen by POLITICO.
The lawmakers Bernd Lange, chief of the European Parliament’s trade committee, and Daniel Caspary, rapporteur for the deals with Australia and New Zealand, confirmed the Commission’s approach.
Juncker wants to use his State of the Union speech to make “a strong push against protectionism by promising fast trade deals,” Lange said, adding that the decision to separate investment protection from trade deals and develop a broader global court was a lesson from last year’s crisis over the EU-Canada deal.
“I believe [a multilateral system] has better chances to respond to concerns in civil society,” he said.
According to Lange, the Commission is also keen to apply that solution to its nearly finished deal with Japan, where Brussels is struggling to agree on bilateral investment protection with Tokyo.