Like TTIP, Ceta threatens to lock in privatisation, making renationalisation (of Britain’s railways, say) or attempts by cities to take control of failing public services (as Joseph Chamberlain did in Birmingham in the 19th century, laying the foundations for modern social provision) impossible.
It doesn’t say anything of the kind.
Here’s an example of what the cretins are actually complaining about:
One look at the practice of investment arbitration shows that concerns with regard to the respect for
human rights and environmental law during ISDS proceedings are not unfounded. Some investment
protection proceedings gave rise to conflicts with i.a. the right to health96, the right to water97 and
with general environmental rights.98 Also the current proceedings in Chevron v Ecuador99 show that
the (human) rights of third parties often receive only insufficient attention in arbitration proceedings.
In these proceedings, to which the arbitration rules of UNCITRAL100 apply and which were initiated on
grounds of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between the USA and Ecuador, Chevron objects to the
enforcement of a judgment by an Ecuadorian court which had convicted Chevron to a payment of
billions in damages to a group of plaintiffs.101 In several interim awards, the arbitration panel obliged
Ecuador to avert the enforcement of that judgment.102 This gave Ecuador the choice either to
interfere with the otherwise independent judiciary of the country in an unconstitutional manner or
to pay billions in penalties to Chevron. Thus the arbitration proceedings function additionally as an
authority which is de facto able to override even the decisions of the final courts of appeal103 and
which deprives the persons affected of the rights they have in legal proceedings without letting them
participate in the arbitration proceedings. The lacking consideration for the rights of third parties
who do not participate in the proceedings themselves is the focus of an intense debate in the
literature on investment protection law.104 A particular point of criticism is that such proceedings
may have the effect that states will not be able to comply with their responsibility to protect the
human rights of third parties, as investment arbitration tribunals pay no or very little attention to
these rights.105 This becomes also evident in proceedings regarding the privatisation of water. In
these cases, states claimed a duty to guarantee their own population the right to water, even if the
water supply had been privatised. Most arbitration tribunals, however, did not accept this
Ultimately, the two Vattenfall proceedings, in which the Swedish energy company sues the Federal
Republic of Germany for damages, also manifest the grave implications that arbitration proceedings
may have for matters concerning environmental law107 and how “a tension can arise between them
and the national constitution.”108 This result is shared by many authors dealing with the clash
between environmental matters and investment protection law.109 In addition, there are a number of
arbitration tribunals on the question whether environmental requirements constitute an indirect
expropriation or the violation of other investor rights. Legal practice shows that the arbitration
tribunals certainly apply a broad definition of indirect expropriation. The arbitration tribunal in the
case Metalclad v. Mexico110, for example, assumed that the prohibition to operate a landfill
constitutes an indirect expropriation.111
The Chevron case is the one where the lawyer bribed the judge and it turned out that the entire case was a complete fabrication from start to finish. Oh how terrible that ISDS provisions protected Chevron from that.
Vattenfall is even more fun. No one doubts at all that Germany can decide not to have nuclear power plants. But if at the stroke of a pen, by changing the law, you turn many billions of valuable power plant into expensive scrap then you’ve got to pay for it. Just as with all the other nationalisations and so on. You can nationalise anything you want. You’ve just got to pay for it.