Environmental safeguards ‘virtually non-existent’ in TTIP

In the latest round of TTIP talks during October, the EU did not see any progress in introducing stronger language on environmental safeguards, despite significant public pressure. In January the EU promised to address their stakeholders’ environmental concerns.

However it now looks as if the document in negotiation contains no real enforcing parameters:

No obligations to ratify international environmental conventions are proposed, and ways of enforcing goals on biodiversity, chemicals and the illegal wildlife trade are similarly absent.

The document does recognise a “right of each party to determine its sustainable development policies and priorities”. But lawyers say this will have far weaker standing than provisions allowing investors to sue states that pass laws breaching legitimate expectations of profit.

“The safeguards provided to sustainable development are virtually non-existent compared to those provided to investors and the difference is rather stark,” said Tim Grabiel, a Paris-based environmental attorney. “The sustainable development chapter comprises a series of aspirational statements and loosely worded commitments with an unclear dispute settlement mechanism. It has little if any legal force.”

Source: Arthur Nelson, “TTIP: EU negotiators appear to break environmental pledge in leaked draft,” The Guardian (23 October 2015)


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