(23 June 2020) In an open letter, which has received the support of 600 organisations from more than 90 countries plus European and international organisations, EPSU calls on governments and the EU to take action to prevent the wave of ISDS cases that put at risk an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investor-to-State Disputes (ISDS) cases are being used to challenge necessary actions taken by governments to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This alarming development has been exposed in recent reports Cashing in on the pandemic from Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Pandemic profiteers from the Transnational Institute (TNI). These reports show how law firms are encouraging businesses to challenge emergency measures taken to protect people. Examples of measures challenged by ISDS include:
- restrictions on business activities in order to limit the spread of the virus and protect workers
- securing resources for health systems by requisitioning use of private hospital facilities
- putting private healthcare providers under public control
- requiring manufacturers to produce ventilators
- mandating relief from mortgage payments or rent for households and businesses, and
- debt restructuring.
All these measures are proving vital to address the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect life and livelihoods. The fact that they are challenged by ISDS underlines the need for a serious ‘rethink’ of ISDS in general and supports calls for an end to investment agreements with ISDS.
For a previous article on ISDS https://www.epsu.org/article/time-end-isds-please-support-alliance