The European Parliament will vote today on the new corporate court system proposed under the CETA trade deal agreed with Canada.
The Investor Court System (ICS) is designed to allow businesses to sue governments for making decisions that affect their profit. Such courts are used under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and have led to costly payouts by countries who passed legislation restricting the activity of corporations.
A group of 89 European MEPs including Irish Independent MEP Marian Harkin is putting a resolution to the Parliament opposing the CETA trade deal with Canada. They want to challenge the deal in the European Court of Justice.
Ms Harkin told Parliament her objections to the CETA deal: "I am horrified that Ireland has provisionally signed this deal without a rigorous debate and vote in our Dáil”.
“We are the only country in the EU to not have these special investor courts in our legislation - and yet we will leave ourselves open to multi-million claims in our courts if we agree the deal. Our Seanad voted to reject CETA - the very least our Dáil must do is debate and vote on CETA.”MEPs are accusing the chief of the Trade Committee Bernd Lange of rushing through the vote on CETA without a proper debate. He responded that members had been given an opportunity to submit their views. MEP Thomas Händel said: “That’s a bogus offer … A regular debate in the committee takes four weeks, and we should not rush.”