It sounds like a story from gloomy past: corporations that sue countries before secret arbitration courts because y dislike ir policies. They get billions of euros in compensation because governments are capping energy prices, backing up companies ' support, or simply taking environmental protection more seriously and tightening laws.
This was possible in past, because many commercial contracts granted such rights to foreign companies. During protests against planned European-American trade agreement TTIP and European-Canadian Ceta, such processes suddenly became a political issue – and federal government in Berlin and EU Commission in Brussels vowed to improve. In future, such procedures should only take place publicly, at least if y have anything to do with Europe. There should be independent judges who will soon be working on a (still to be created) International Court of Justice.
A small, read-only study now shows that, despite promises, unfortunately so much has not changed. In paper that is published today and time online has already been available, Brussels lobby observers of organization CEO have gared many explosive data and cases. One should not be deterred by dramatic title, because in study it is meticulously demonstrated that so-called European Energy Charter continues to make it possible, which should not actually be: billions of expensive lawsuits by companies against Governments.Number of complaints drastically increased
The Energy Charter is a treaty that European governments invented in 1990s. After end of cold War, it was to bind energy sectors of Independent States of Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to West – and to provide legal protection to expanding Western European energy companies for ir investments in east. In recent years, new countries have joined treaty, but at same time large law firms discovered it and sued on behalf of companies and not seldom financed by venture capital funds governments in west and east – if ir energy policy was not entirely Contract. In ir study, lobby observers of CEO note: While only 19 cases are known from first decade of Agreement (1998-2008), 75 new investor-state lawsuits have been filed alone in last five years (2013-2017). The real number is probably even higher because many procedures are not to be grasped because of secrecy.
This is scandalous for several reasons. Firstly, because Treaty still makes it possible to negotiate beyond public sphere. Secondly, because it strongly restricts scope of governments if y want to reform ir energy policy. and thirdly, because it hinders a more environmentally friendly energy policy.Five before 8:00 subscribe to morning column of Time online – from Monday to Friday by email. Sign up now
Italy, for example, was sued because it did not want to allow oil drilling in Adriatic for ecological reasons. Spain, because it cut subsidies for wind energy – for which government in financial crisis had been pushed by EU. Or Bulgaria, because it wanted to reduce exploding energy costs for consumers. Or Mongolia, because it had withdrawn a licence for Uraniumabbau after breach of security regulations.
Even Germany has already met. On basis of Energy Charter, Swedish energy company Vattenfall sued federal government before an arbitration tribunal in Washington. Because of nuclear exit. Until last year, federal government has already cost this 12.6 million euros in legal fees. Until recently, it seemed as if Vattenfall could hope for a billion-dollar compensation. Meanwhile, however, it is becoming lightly that one could get away from it in Berlin.Updated Date: 14 June 2018, 12:02