EPSU calls  for immediate action to prevent investment challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic


(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.   

The open letter can be found here in English, French and Spanish

For a previous article on ISDS https://www.epsu.org/article/time-end-isds-please-support-alliance