A committee of MEPs say negotiators involved in EU-US trade talks should come up with a new way of protecting investors in a planned free trade deal.
The European Parliament’s International Trade Committee wants a “permanent” court for resolving disputes between states and companies.
“We have ensured that the fundamental workers’ rights and environmental standards will be respected, and we have made further demands on companies, so that’s progress. Concerning the question of investment protection, there are approaches to development, which is also positive,” said Bernd Lange, a German centre-left MEP.
Parliamentarians passed a resolution saying any scheme could be based on fresh proposals from the European Commission.
But those on the left of the political spectrum are still unhappy with the text, which will be voted on by all MEPs in June.
“We do have a bad report, a bad resolution, which does not protect the European citizens, which on the contrary reinforces the rights of multinational companies against our democratic system,” said Yannick Jadot, a Green MEP.
MEPs are not involved directly in the negotiations, but any final deal will need their approval.
In short, EU leaders and the European Commission need them onside.
“If it is negotiated properly – and only then we will agree with the treaty – many citizens will benefit, but especially the small and medium enterprises, which are completely overwhelmed in practice, to apply different rules,” said Daniel Caspary, a centre-right parliamentarian from Germany
Anti-trade deal campaigners say a deal will be a risk to the environment, weaken workers rights and put European consumer standards under threat.