Greens have seized on an email by leading business advocate group Business Europe as evidence of the influence of corporate lobbying on the controversial EU-US TTIP trade deal negotiations. In an email to members of the European Parliament, the Director General of the lobby group expresses concern at the request to exclude public services and warns against ‘overloading EU’s trade agenda with sustainability objectives that are unachievable’. He requests that ‘efficient and reliable instruments to enforce investors’ rights are put in place.’
The email also calls on MEPs to endorse a compromise amendment reached in the Trade Committee last week on the contentious Investor-state Dispute System (ISDS) clause, which would potentially allow corporations the right to sue governments over laws which affect their profits, even if these laws protect public health or workers’ rights. Greens have always made an explicit stand against ISDS and voted against the amendment in the Trade Committee last week. However, despite publically opposing ISDS, Labour MEPs who are part of the Socialists & Democrats group, supported it. Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, who has taken a strong stand against TTIP, said:
“This blatant business lobbying reveals perhaps why MEPs are lowering their guard against a treaty that is a serious threat to our democracy, workers’ rights and our environmental standards. This email demonstrates clearly that TTIP has become a corporate charter and big business are pressuring MEPs to ride roughshod over our hard-fought-for social and environmental standards on the premise that such standards are a barrier to business. We will see in next week’s vote whether MEPs – and the socialists in particular – vote according to the values they profess to hold or whether they cave in to the business lobby.”
Greens say nine out of ten lobby contacts during the preparatory phase of the TTIP negotiations were with companies and corporate lobby groups, and accuse the business lobby of co-writing the TTIP agenda. A recent European Commission consultation on the ISDS clause revealed a 97% rejection rate by respondents.