Germany's largest association of judges warned Wednesday the sovereignty of European Union countries could be undermined by a proposed corporate court linked to the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
The German Magistrates Association issued a statement arguing the proposed investment court “would not only limit the legislative powers of the Union and the member states; it would also alter the established court system within the Member States and the European Union.”
“In the opinion of the German Magistrates Association, there is no legal basis for such a change by the (EU),” the judges said, according to a translation of the statement provided by Friends of the Earth Europe.
Anti-TTIP campaigners have responded by arguing the statement vindicates their reservations about the trade deal's proposed court system.
“This statement by German judges completely supports what campaigners have been saying: the Commission’s ‘compromise’ proposal is actually about trying to legitimize the handing of special legal privilege to big business,” said Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now responded.
Dearden has argued the proposed court would give big business priority access to the European legal system, while providing little more than a permanent version of controversial international investment tribunals.
“It’s not about making things fairer, but trying to buy off opposition. It’s an assault on the sovereignty of Britain and the EU,” he told teleSUR.
The proposed European Commission's Investment Court System has become one of the most controversial aspects of the TTIP. The TTIP is a secretive proposed trade deal between the EU and the United States, which critics argue could force member states to lower consumer and environmental protections. The TTIP is the sister deal of the equally controversial TPP.
The TTIP's proposed court would replace the EU's existing international investment dispute mechanisms with a permanent, public court.
Paul de Clerck, from Friends of the Earth Europe said the judge association’s verdict “confirms the verdict of civil society: the Investment Court System is deeply flawed, undemocratic, and unacceptable.”
“The movement throughout Europe against toxic trade deals that promote corporate privileges at the expense of the public interest is growing by the day; it is unstoppable,” he said.