UK-based Global Justice Now, however, says the proposal offers mere cosmetic changes to the ISDS mechanism, to which the European public has voiced overwhelming opposition.

Nick Dearden, director of the organization, called the proposal “essentially a PR exercise to get around the enormous controversy and opposition that has been generated by ISDS. The Commission can try to put lipstick on a pig, but this new proposal doesn’t change the fundamental problem of giving corporations frightening new powers at the expense of our national democracies.”

“The real issue at hand here is that of corporate power,” Dearden added. “Commissioner Malmström says she wants to ‘establish a new system built around the elements that make citizens trust domestic or international courts’—but she hasn’t explained why those courts are not good enough for multinational corporations to use.”

Friends of the Earth Europe joined Global Justice Now in rejecting the proposal, echoing the concern that the plan ignores the vast public opposition

“The European Commission’s proposal for an ‘International Court System’ is tarred with the same old corporate friendly brush,” stated Natacha Cingotti, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.  “Despite a new name and some reforms on the functioning of the system, it reaffirms the granting of VIP rights for corporate investors without giving them any obligations that would protect citizens and the environment.”

“As long as companies can sue governments if they act in the public interest, the ability of governments to regulate is undermined,” Cingotti stated. “It should be resisted at all costs.”

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