Any violations of environmental protections in EU trade agreements should be subject to the same state-to-state dispute settlement as violations of the commercial clauses, a new study by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. Currently there are practically no ways to enforce and tackle breaches of environmental and sustainability provisions in EU trade agreements, but earlier this month EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced that she wants to make sustainable development chapters of trade agreements more effective.
The Board of sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has today announced William Todts as its new Executive Director. He succeeds Jos Dings, who this week leaves the position after 13 years.
A group of leading utilities, investors and NGOs have called on President Juncker to invest more money in zero-emission mobility and power generation when allocating the EU budget after 2020. Aviva Investors, 2 Degrees Investing, Eurelectric, Ocean Energy Europe, Mirova Investing, among others, demand future EU investment be focused on decarbonising the transport sector.
Europe’s chief negotiator on the UK’s exit from the EU has insisted that Britain must agree to abide by EU environmental rules if it wants access to the internal market. Speaking at a special debate organised by the Group of 10 leading Brussels-based environmental groups (G10) earlier this month, Michel Barnier said the UK must agree to a ‘non-regression clause’ being included in its post-Brexit trade agreement with the 27-member bloc.
The pressure of civil society forced the European Commission to rethink its approach on investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS), resulting in the reformed investment court system (ICS), and the current multilateral investment court (MIC). The purported added value of the MIC is to render investment protection more transparent and accountable, and put an end to the controversial ISDS. This briefing outlines T&E's position on MIC.
Countries will meet at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law this week, in the UN’s famous New York City building, to discuss modernising the mechanism that enables foreign firms to sue governments for what they perceive as unfair policy measures that can harm future profits. This is commonly known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. The European Commission’s proposal to reform this archaic system will form the core of the discussions.
In 2018 the EU will develop a budget for the 2021-2027 period. The current budget earmarks €100 billion for investment in transport infrastructure, as well as research and innovation. Nevertheless, emissions continue to rise from the sector and represent 27% of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Spending should prioritise addressing this worrying trend, investing in infrastructure that helps reduce such emissions. Furthermore, the most polluting means of transport could become new own resources for the EU budget, which would help to reduce emissions and fill the EU budget gap that will be left after the UK exits the EU. Read more in our responses to the European Commission’s open consultations on the EU budget.
An enforceable set of sustainable development requirements should be written into all free trade agreements that the EU concludes. That is the recommendation from a paper by T&E which draws on research conducted two years ago when discussions on the ‘TTIP’ EU-US trade deal were at their height.
Sustainable development has become one of the EU’s essential goals and is now a guiding principle for both its internal and external policies. As part of this ambition, the European Commission includes specific chapters on Trade and Sustainable Development in all free trade agreements (FTA) that it concludes with third country partners. Due to the controversy surrounding trade in recent years (for example, TTIP and CETA), the European Commission has started to recognise that there needs to be stronger coherence between trade and development policies. This paper looks at how the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters could play a crucial role in this.
The bodies that enforce the Aarhus Convention, which guarantees public access to information and justice in environmental matters, have ruled that the EU is not compliant with the convention and is showing a lack of respect for the rule of law on environmental justice.