16 October 2014

BREAKING: Juncker to take ISDS out of TTIP

News report reveals new Commission President planning imminent removal of investor-state dispute settlement

Simon McKeagney, Editor

Incoming Commission president Jean Claude Juncker is said to have decided to remove the controversial investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) from TTIP, citing that it is “too late” to win on the issue, and to send a clear signal to EU citizens that he has “heard them" a new news report says.

According to the Dutch journalist Caroline de Gruyter, writing for NRC Handelsblad, Trade Commissioner-elect Cecilia Malmström had threatened to resign over Juncker’s plans to exclude ISDS, but to date, this has not happened. The news sheds further light on the tug-of-war taking place within the Commission regarding investor rights in international trade agreements, as was demonstrated in Malmström's parliamentary hearing in September.

The news also comes just 24 hours after outgoing Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told Reuters that that "there will be no TTIP without an ISDS" at a meeting of EU trade ministers and US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, in Rome.

Lightning rod issue

De Gruyter is highly regarded as a journalist specialising in EU affairs, with sources close to Juncker. She claims that Juncker now sees ISDS as a "lightning rod" issue for TTIP opponents. Politically, Juncker believes it cannot be won as an issue, as those in favour are “not fighting back.” It is claimed that Juncker hopes the decision will improve the popular image of Brussels, which has taken a nose dive in recent years on the back of growing Eurosceptic sentiment.

In a Green Group hearing after the European Elections in July, Juncker already openly aired his discontent at ISDS proposals, saying:

“I don’t understand why great democracies would not have faith in the judiciary. We have courts which are able to deal with cases that are brought to them, and so I’m not really in favour of what one could call “private courts” or arbitration bodies which may sometimes reach good decisions but don’t always have to justify their decisions.”

The news is likely to be seen as a huge victory for civil society groups and NGOs, who have actively campaigned for the removal of the mechanism since last year. Growing public anger over TTIP resulted in tens of thousands taking to the streets last Saturday, in more than 400 protests across Europe.

More information as it comes in.

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Thomas Denhof

Great news to see SDIS at risk of becoming part of TTIP.
It's shocking it was ever considered to be implemented.
Let's keep fighting for it's removal.

Hilda palmer

Good! But doesn't make ttip good or even benign, gives far toomuchpiwerto corporations, over rides democracy and threatens to force all standards down. But many corporations, usa business may not want ttip without isds?


Read the critique of the Dutch government study of ISDS at

Basically, these FTAs are intentionally deceptive and antidemocratic. they set up privatization as their goal but they go to great lengths to conceal key aspects of their agenda. Understanding GATS and how its been interpreted is key to understanding these FTAs.

This is a good paper on how the GATS is a threat to public services, particularly social services like health care and education. Particularly, it describes how GATS, *which TTIP references for its definitions*, uses ambiguity to allow it to sneak in goals which require a very deep level of understanding to identify, deceptively- very much worth reading- The ambiguity is a problem which makes it imperative to dump the connections to GATS.

ronald minschwaner

Yes, potentially good news. But I am sick of leaving big votes that effect the lives of U.S. citizens in the hands of a corrupt congress. It is 2014 and there is absolutely no logic to shut the people out of the conversation that controls their destiny. This is a peoples decision, NOT rich corporate leeches !

Olle Johansson

I totally agree we have STOP TTIP.
You are welcome to visit my blogg, you have the possibility to translate my blogg in english.


This could be very bad. We need to stop TTIP in its entirety, especially the portions on copyright enforcement. If ISDS is taken out, we'll lose a lot of the help we'll need.


great news if true. BUT, the Karel de Gucht statement occurred yesterday, 16th. The reference to de Gruyter, NRC Handelsblad is dated 15th or even 14th.

Either there is another unreported reference from de Gruyter or the de Grucht report on Reuters must surely supercede the de Gruyter reported conversation with Junckers.

Verification of reference needed before I believe this story, much as I want to believe it.

Helen Highwater

ISDS represents the greatest threat to democracy this century. Please delete this part of the TTIP, and any other treaties it may appear in.

max blunt

Good news no doubt, but we still need the whole thing to fall apart, let's hope this is the beginning of the end for TTIP.

Tom Lines

ISDS remains in CETA, the EU's agreement with Canada, which is due for ratification. If it goes through, US companies will be able to sue EU governments in the same way via their Canadian subsidiaries. CETA must be stopped too.

Martin Hemingway

Junckers is not criticising the obscenity at the heart of TTIP, the power of corporations to challenge the decisions of democratically elected governments and other national institutions if they affect the profits they could make.

He is only, I think, suggesting that the mechanism for assessment of a breach of the rules should not be a 'secret' arbitration tribunal but the court system. There is no necessity, indeed no likelihood, that national courts like those of the UK, or of the EU, following the usual rules for the interpretation of statutes (treaties included) would reach any different decision from the tribunal, and the decision reached would then have the greater validity of having been arrived at in open court following established rules.

Heather wilde

Excellent news if true, take that frackers!


Better still if the UK were free from EU interference to trade with whom we wished


Investor state disputes to be decided by national legislatures, presumably implementing international corporate law, but not in private.. is this a huge difference? Great to see movement, but no point in having a treaty if it is not enforceable. As I see it any nation with higher levels of protection for people or planet would be entitled to impose import duty on goods produced without these protections to ensure a level playing field. That seems the right way to do the treaty, instead of the present proposed enforcement of the lowest agreed standards.

Kipper Proof

Oh please Ukippers, the truth about TTIP is "you are either with us or against us". The plan is exclusive which draws an analogy to Ukraine, where you are not allowed to join EU and Putin's Eurasia Union simultaneously.

Jonathan Camilleri

I don't quite agree with its removal, I would agree to more transparency, but I am not Juncker.

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