Investment protection infringes on national sovereignty

In its Friday session, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) discussed the Dutch Christian Democratic politician Pieter Omtzigt’s report on the international investment protection agreements and UK Labour Party MP Geraint Davis’ report on the effects of “New generation” trade agreements and their implications for social rights, public health and sustainable development. As a member of the Hungarian delegation, Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi, the Vice Chairman of the Hungarian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs also addressed the PACE.

“On the whole, we must appreciate the fact that the long decades of debates on free trade agreements finally produced such brave, balanced and critical observations as the ones presented in these two reports,” said Mr Gyöngyösi. He emphasized that the public had been offered nothing but a unilateral propaganda peddling the positive impacts of the agreements, envisioning economic growth and lower unemployment as a result of abolishing customs duties, lifting restrictions and harmonizing standards. He added that even though there had been some positive change in investment protection systems, he still felt that they severely infringed on national sovereignty.

“I am convinced that there is no need for any investment protection measures in TTIP or CETA, since the US, Canada and all EU member states have a sophisticated regulatory framework and a stable rule of law,” Mr Gyöngyösi told us.

The Jobbik-delegated Vice Chairman of the Parliament’s foreign affairs committee asserted that investment protection systems were originally devised for providing legal guarantees to protect investors putting their money in developing countries where the regulatory framework was not properly established (e.g.: unstable state, unpredictable regulatory and legal background). “This protection is not necessary in Europe,” he stated.

He noted that it was mortally dangerous to aim for harmonizing standards with the USA, a country which had so far failed to ratify any of the international protocols designed to prevent the negative environmental impacts of globalization (Kyoto, Basel, Stockholm), and recognized hormone therapy and GMO as approved technologies. He also mentioned that the negotiations of these agreements were marred by secrecy and a lack of transparency, which is not only totally undemocratic but raises the suspicion of corruption and shady deals as well.




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