European Commission's Clever Ruse To Introduce Corporate Sovereignty Regardless Of Ratification Votes In EU

from the whatever-happened-to-democracy? dept

Because of the complicated nature of power-sharing in the European Union, some international agreements require the approval of both the European Parliament and of every Member State -- so-called "mixed agreements." It is generally accepted that both the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) and TAFTA/TTIP are mixed agreements, and will therefore require a double ratification: by the full European Parliament, and all the EU governments. Indeed, the European Commission has frequently cited this fact to bolster its assertion that both CETA and TAFTA/TTIP are being negotiated democratically, since the European public -- through their representatives -- will have their say in these final votes.

But a disturbing analysis published by Greenpeace on its Austrian pages (original in German), suggests that built into the CETA agreement, which is currently going through a "legal scrub" before being presented for ratification (pdf), are a couple of sections that will allow the European Commission to introduce the corporate sovereignty provisions anyway. According to Article X.06 3(a):
This Agreement shall be provisionally applied from the first day of the month following the date on which the parties have notified each other that their respective relevant procedures have been completed.
This means that CETA would enter into force provisionally as soon as the European Commission and the Canadian government have notified each other that "relevant procedures have been completed." There's no explicit requirement there for those "relevant procedures" to include ratification by the European Parliament or the EU Member States: the European Commission might claim that the "relevant procedures" simply meant things like the legal scrub. One of the provisions of CETA is a deeply-problematic corporate sovereignty chapter, so this too would enter into force at this point, regardless of what national governments might want.

Now suppose that the European Parliament, or one of those Member States, does not ratify CETA, perhaps because of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, in which case the entire agreement would fail. But here's what Article X.07 4 says happens in this case:
If the provisional application of this Agreement is terminated and it does not enter into force, a claim may be submitted pursuant to the provisions of this Agreement, regarding any matter arising during the period of the provisional application of this Agreement, pursuant to the rules and procedures established in this Agreement, and provided no more than three (3) years have elapsed since the date of termination of the provisional application.
In other words, even if CETA is rejected in Europe, thus causing the provisional application to be terminated, claims under the ISDS chapter would still be possible up to three years afterwards for investments made during the provisional period. This is no mere theoretical possibility: it is exactly what happened to Russia with the Energy Charter Treaty, which it never ratified, but where an ISDS tribunal made an award of $50 billion against the country because of the treaty's provisional application. What's even more troubling is that the European Commission proposes to add similar clauses to TAFTA/TTIP, as the Greenpeace article notes:
A representative of the European Commission at a press briefing session in Vienna on Tuesday confirmed to Greenpeace that the Commission intends to propose a "provisional application" for TTIP too.
This would be even worse than putting such sections in CETA, because ISDS in TAFTA/TTIP will apply retrospectively to all existing investments, as the negotiating mandate specifies (pdf):
The investment protection chapter of the Agreement should cover a broad range of investors and their investments, intellectual property rights included, whether the investment is made before or after the entry into force of the Agreement.
This would allow corporate sovereignty provisions applying to huge numbers of existing investments to enter into force and remain there for some years even if TTIP were rejected by the European Parliament or one of the national governments. So much for the European Commission's much-vaunted "democracy" -- and another compelling reason to take the ISDS chapter out of both CETA and TAFTA/TTIP.

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  • identicon
    David, 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:11am

    To be fair

    So much for the European Commission's much-vaunted "democracy"

    The whole point of the European Commission is that it is not a democratic body but rather "complements" the European Parliament.

    How did we end up with this lobbyist cesspool and particularly its excessive powers in the first place?

    It feels like having to give equal voting rights to brain leeches.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:42am

    So much for the European Commission's much-vaunted "democracy"

    so much also for the EUROPEAN Commission. with that title, you would think it's main purpose is to aid all in Europe. it seems it only aids businesses and not just in EU. it should be banned and nothing like ever allowed to rise again!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:43am

    Ram it through by any means necessary. Nothing will stop the free exploitation of the 99%, worldwide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:24am

    Ah! Our Glorious Leaders at EUParl strikes again.
    Interestingly their behavior can be summarized on these three words:

    Insane, Idiotic and Iivilminded=(

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I'm_Having_None_Of_It, 22 Jan 2015 @ 5:30am

      Re:

      Ah, the European Parliament is responsible for getting ACTA off our backs, and magnificently so, on 4th July 2012.

      It's the EU Commission that's the problem.

      We need to persuade the Parliament to stand up to them, but with only one Pirate and whatever support she can get from the liberal/left/eco parties, wish us luck. We need it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:22am

        Re: Re:

        Exactly.

        Another problem entirely is the council and their lack of hands on knowledge of most of what they pass (goes through COREPER).

        As much as conservatives in the parliament are easily bought by their investors, the parliament is the only actual protection against the raving lunacy that comes from the commission at times.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Think of it this way: the European Commission is the reason the Daily Mail and the Sun publish all those, "DOOM FOR THE BRITON!" stories each time some lunacy comes out of Brussels.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 3:44am

    Never mind getting rid of just the corporate sovereignty clauses, both agreements need to be killed off entirely, due to being secretly negotiated without the public's involvement or input. The same fate should apply to any 'trade' agreement that the public doesn't have real involvement with, since the public is the one who will be impacted the most by such 'agreements'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 4:23am

    Why bother voting at all?

    You know, I almost have to wonder, if they can do this to parts of the 'trade' agreements, make what's in them legally binding even if the agreements are rejected, why don't they do the same with the rest of it, and skip the whole ratification process altogether?

    Hell, wasn't that long ago that something similar happened between China and Canada, where the wording in FIPA was such that even if the agreement was challenged and overturned, it would still be legally binding on Canada. They're doing it with parts of these agreements, what exactly is stopping them from doing so with the entire things?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 22 Jan 2015 @ 7:00am

      Re: Why bother voting at all?

      They're doing it with parts of these agreements, what exactly is stopping them from doing so with the entire things?

      They are only doing it with the important parts of the agreements. The rest is a concession to the clown show called the "European Parliament" to avoid turning them into sad clowns. Sad clowns are not sufficiently scared of terrorists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:28am

      Re: Why bother voting at all?

      Voting matters, the problem is that people continue to vote in known and proven liars, just because they feel party locked. I would rather see a lying scumbag in my own party gone. Sure I have to deal with the idiot from the opposition then, but the best I can do is clean my own house. That way next time... maybe the 'party' will get a clue that corruption will not be tolerated and expunge all the dirty people or at least minimize it and run candidates we want.

      Once a Politician lies, it should be their ass, no exceptions. There are more than enough people that are willing to 'attempt' to lead and the turn over will help to keep corruption down.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:49pm

      Re: Why bother voting at all?

      Harper sold out our human rights for the next 30 years. What does he care he screwed over every Canadian to be given quite a hefty bribe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 4:27am

    and another compelling reason to take the ISDS chapter out of both CETA and TAFTA/TTIP.

    One could say that it's a compelling reason to scrap them and start over since this is hardly the only issue found inside.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 7:05am

    Who's the Leader

    If 'negotiated' trade agreements can abrogate national decision making, how long will it take before governments are declared useless and therefore null and void, and who will then be the leader of the world, not to mention how will that entity be selected?




    (Unhealthy visions of 1%'rs in their shorts in a boxing ring, not pretty)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ysth (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 7:30am

      Re: Who's the Leader (Not President Obama)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re: Who's the Leader (Not President Obama)

        O is a huge cowardly dog... it will not be easy to figure out which schlong he is sucking because he gets it from a lot of places.

        On thing is for sure... the Dems love O because he will sock it to those filthy Reps, damned be the law or constitution, because in the mind of a Dem... the end justifies the means. The 'other' root of all evil in this world... Total cognitive dissonance; aka pure hypocrisy!

        [disclaimer]
        Yes, this exists in both parties, so don't get all but hurt over this my little libbies, you are no better than a deranged neocon while you refuse to understand why.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          ysth (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Who's the Leader (Not President Obama)

          I think liberals often act in ways that to me seem as out there as deranged neocons, but I strongly suspect I mean that completely differently than you do.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PRMan, 22 Jan 2015 @ 7:37am

    What's to stop Russia

    What's to stop Russia from saying, "We didn't sign that, we're not paying. And if you keep up that we need to pay, then we will consider you at war with Russia. And you've already seen we have no problem attacking our enemies with military force."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ac, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:34am

    So I am trying to figure this out, if I made an agreement with Walmart and put in a provision that even if they rejected it they would owe me a million dollars how would that be legal?

    Is this not the same thing that these agreements are doing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:50pm

      Re:

      would you have the force of arms to force them to obey such a stipulation? The question we should ask is if this goes through. Will it come down to military intervention to force it on anyone that refuses to play ball as it were

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zonker, 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:38am

    That's nonsense. Any legal negotiation not agreed to by the parties involved is legally null and void. All parts, including any clauses claiming to have provisional effect or legal ramification. No portion of any law written can have any effect if the law is not passed.

    Otherwise, I have a legal agreement I would like to send to the US Government for ratification:

    Corporations shall no longer be given the rights of people without the responsibilities and liabilities. Corporations shall never be allowed to lobby Congress or finance political campaigns, and any money donated or promise of future employment shall be considered bribery under the law, punishable by the dissolution of said corporation and/or incarceration of their executive officers. If any investor should lose money due to any law passed by Congress, they are shit out of luck and must eat their losses like the rest of us.

    This Agreement shall be provisionally applied from the first day of the month following the date on which the parties have notified each other that their respective relevant procedures have been completed. If the provisional application of this Agreement is terminated and it does not enter into force, a claim may be submitted pursuant to the provisions of this Agreement, regarding any matter arising during the period of the provisional application of this Agreement, pursuant to the rules and procedures established in this Agreement, until such time as the Democratic and the Republican parties come to a unanimous bipartisan agreement on healthcare reform.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 4:01pm

    Is this even legal?

    I'm pretty sure that the law requires ratification before something takes effect, so how can something legally take effect before it is ratified? Can someone explain that to me?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:52pm

      Re: Is this even legal?

      we are the serfs, we have no say.

      They view themselves as being above the petty laws, their wealth priviledge and power has gone to their heads. They do what they want, when they want to and screw anyone that gets in their way.

      What does a tyrant care for the law, he has the ability to ignore it and do what he wants anyway

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 23 Jan 2015 @ 2:42am

      Re: Is this even legal?

      Someone put it into the small print of the statutes for the EC. You know, in order to make progress, there are some limited concessions for provisional/preliminary agreements. All in good faith and quite harmless.

      It's the same old story: you don't make contracts with the devil, or worse, lobbyists. The EC is the equivalent of having contracted the devil into Europe's legal department. It's a mixed cursing.

      Of course, everything is strictly under parliamentary control, so no need to be afraid. Except when it isn't.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David E.H. Smith, 23 Jan 2015 @ 11:22am

    CETA; PUTIN; 'The WHITE KNIGHT'

    But, If Not PUTIN; 'The WHITE KNIGHT', then Who Do YOU Want to Save the harmless NON shareholders from Fast Tracking CHINA - CANADA Investment Treaty's (C-CIT), TPP's, CETA's Secret 'Death-Star-Chamber' Tribunal Penalties? Will China, Iran, the Muslim World, et al, Support Putin in Suits?

    Higher Taxes & More Cuts to Services to Pay Secret Penalties; NON Shareholders Have to Pay SHAREHOLDERS, corporate USA, Japan, Canada, et al.
    How Much are You Selling your Right to Sue the Global Corporate Economy for?

    TPP, TTIP, et al, 'Trade' Treaty Critics to Support Supreme Court Submission?

    It will be good for, not only the NON shareholders of the enterprises that can be generated by the on-going global "cooperation" of corporate treaties, agreements, partnerships, et al, including the Trans Pacific Partnership, the EU - Canada CETA, the China - Canada Investment Treaty, et al,
    but,
    for the potential shareholders, as well,
    who are quite interested to know if President Xi Jinping (China) will support Russia as a co-member of B.R.I.C.S. when President Putin uses his potential role as "The White Knight".

    And, while President Putin's potential support as “The WHITE KNIGHT” in the development of the CETAgreement, et al, litigation below can dramatically off-set the hundreds of billions of dollars due to the present & future sanctions levelled by American led, et al, corporations & financial institutions via their governments' signing their global corporate economic treaties/”arrangements”,
    and the potential for making trillions of dollars for the Russian economy over the next 30 - 40 years & beyond,
    are the citizens (SHAREHOLDERS & NON shareholders) of Germany & JAPAN just being prudent in wanting to wait for the outcome of:
    1) The Submission to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA & the highest court in Germany, et al, to make their findings regarding “The Submission”:
    'The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, Australia, Canada, et al
    v
    the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al'?
    (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com)
    and

    2) 'The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?'
    (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com)

    Have the federal representatives of the nations that are the potential signatories of CETA, TPP, et al, willingly provided the NON shareholders of China, Canada, Europe, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, with the aforementioned information? Are the federal representatives, et al, depriving the NON shareholders of Canada, et al, of the due diligence information that enables the family of the NON shareholders of Canada, et al, to make informed decisions regarding their financial planning?

    And, would a reasonable person conclude by a preponderance of the evidence, &/or, beyond a reasonable doubt, that these documents, et al, demonstrate that the SHAREHOLDERS of AMERICA, CANADA , the EU & Trans Pacific nations, et al, really do not care which NON shareholders pay them the punitive penalties, etc., by way of their secret (“Death-Star Chamber”) TRIBUNALS, as long as its not the SHAREHOLDERS who pay & not their corporations regardless of which country the corporations:
    1) operating from,
    2) maintain their headquarters,
    3) use to do their cyber banking, accounting, "taxation", etc.
    &
    4) et al?

    And, re; the CHINA – Canada Investment Treaty, is it understandable why the “coveted” Hong Kong investor & his associates are “concerned” with the aforementioned findings of The SUPREME COURT of CANADA, et al, & the effects of the potential findings, et al, on the EU, AMERICA, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, treaties with CHINA, et al?

    In regard to arms sales; how about the sale of arms (non nuclear) in general in regard to the "trade" treaties that are continuing to be secretly negotiated and how will the Tribunals, both; B.R.I.C.S. & non BRICS, adjudicate, decide & penalize the NON SHAREHOLDERS for the sale of legitimate, semi- legitimate & "illegal" sales of arms within the signatories nations & the those of others, &/or, unaligned? Of particular, interest is China, which does have an treaty with Canada, which puts China "at odds" with other arms manufacturing & nuclear powers that it (China) does not have any "arrangements" with.
    Are these types of questions that your politicians & the corporate lobbyists calls "forget-me-nots" ("Buyer Beware") that will be (maybe) worked out after the fast tracked signatures are obtained?

    And, what do you think is the significance of the line in The Submission to The Supreme Court of Canada '...And, lest one forgets that the revelation of the present perilous international treaties/'arrangements' began with the regard for the rights of Native Canadians as per the Treaties/”arrangements” that corporate Canada & the Government of Canada have 'foisted' upon Native Canadians...'? What are the various ways that this line will cost the SHAREHOLDERS, et al?

    On the other hand, it may be worth repeating yet again,
    'What the TREATY of VERSAILLES was to the 20th century PALES in COMPARISON to the TPP, CETA, C-CIT, NAFTA, et al, in the 21st'.

    And, how will YOUR submission to YOUR highest court IMPROVE upon The Submission that is presently before The Supreme Court of Canada?

    David E.H. Smith
    - Researcher
    - 'Qui tam...'
    ******
    Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 members of your family, friends, associates in order that they can use the due diligence info to make more informed decision about their families' financial planning, & then they can share it with 10 others...
    ******
    For more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human (Nature) Rights & Economics by way of the C-CI Treaty, the CET Agreement, TPP, et al, and The WAD Accord
    &
    List of RECENT ARTICLES, LETTERS & NOTIFICATIONS by DEHS,
    see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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