On 13 January, the European Commission presented its analysis of the three-month online public consultation on the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in the TTIP. The consultation started last March, following the suspension of negotiations on these clauses last January. ISDS has caused huge controversy among politicians and the public. Critics fear that strong investment-protection mechanisms would effectively eliminate the governments´ ability to legislate in public interest. The Commission received more than 150,000 replies to its consultation, the largest number ever. Of those, however, some 97% were submitted through several NGOs which provided pre-defined negative answers. Five of the NGOs alone, including e.g. Friends of the Earth, assured some 130,000 answers. These replies either refuse ISDS altogether, or raise serious doubts about the whole TTIP agreement. On these, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem commented that they show a huge amount of scepticism about TTIP in the general public.
Replies from some 3000 individuals and some 450 enterprises go more into detail. The original consultation questionnaire was divided into 12 specific ISDS issues. The more detailed responses showed particular importance of 4 specific problems – the protection of the right to regulate, the establishment and functioning of the tribunals, relationship of the ISDS to domestic judiciary and a possibility of an appellate mechanism. The Commission concluded that further efforts would be focused on these main issues.
27th March 2020