Second Young Erasmus Food for Thought Lab

Who is afraid of European mega-regionals? Reflections on CETA (and the dormant TIPP) 

Friday, 28 October 2016, 13:30 - 17:00
Senaatzaal, Woudestein Campus, Erasmus University

In September 2016, European media declared the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) dead. Given the already resumed negotiations on TTIP, its requiem appears at best premature. Moreover, its sister Agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA) might come to life on October 27, 2016, during the EU-Canada Summit (even if only ‘provisionally’). Many consider these so-called ‘mega-regionals’ as a threat to democracy. Among others, people fear that the institutionalization of mechanisms like a transatlantic Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will further empower multinational corporations and weaken the powers of the regulatory state to protect the public interest (e.g. protection of the environment, social rights, etc.) and reduce the regulatory autonomy of States. Legally, the constitutionality of these agreements has been put into question (the German Constitutional Court has recently released a decision declaring parts of CETA constitutional, but somewhat ambiguously adding conditions to it). Given the potential implications of these mega-regionals, it is still crucial to keep the debate alive and informed. Are the EU mega-regionals a real concern to democracy and rule of law, as the protesters contend, or are they the necessary legal frameworks towards transatlantic prosperity and trade cooperation, as the Commission claims? Will the rules on regulatory cooperation jeopardize the regulatory autonomy of States? Does the redefinition of provisions, such as the Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET), as for instance articulated in CETA, offer sufficient safeguards against the hijacking of public policy? And, what would be the concrete consequences of CETA not being signed on October 27, because of EU Member States ostracizing the deal, such as Wallonia?

Young Erasmus invites academics, politicians and citizens for an afternoon debate, dialogue and reflection aimed at identifying and discussing the major sources of controversy surrounding the European Union’s trade and investment partnerships. Much of the focus will lie on CETA and on its legal status (if provisionally adopted). In unpacking the legal-technical world underlying mega-regionals, the participants will look critically at these new legal frames and assess how the interests of various stakeholders, including the public are reflected in these (draft) Agreements.


Programme

13.30-14.30 
Introducing the Debate

Welcome
Dr. Alessandra Arcuri, Young Erasmus, Erasmus School of Law

Mini-Lecture: Mega-regionals (with a special focus on CETA): Introducing the debate 
Dr. Federica Violi, Erasmus School of Law

The first part of the Lab is aimed at clarifying the basic legal architecture of EU Mega-regionals (with a special focus on CETA) to the general public, including interested citizens, students, academics, policy-makers and journalists who do not possess the legal background to appreciate the various dimensions of these agreements. It will introduce and discuss the most controversial institutions, such as the ISDS mechanism, together with some of the most relevant questions underlying the debate on CETA, as well as a short introduction to the legal status of this agreement.

Coffee Break

14.45-17.00 
Public Debate

EU Mega-regionals and the future of the democratic and regulatory state 
Discussion Leaders:

  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Mitchell, Melbourne Law School & Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge
  • René Repasi, Erasmus School of Law 
  • Dr. Alessandra Arcuri, Young Erasmus, Erasmus School of Law 
  • Dr. Luca Pantaleo, The Hague University of Applied Sciences 
  • Roeline Knottnerus, Transnational Institute

Moderator: Dr. Andria Naudé Fourie, Erasmus School of Law

17.00 
Drinks

Organizing Committee
Dr. Alessandra Arcuri, Young Erasmus, Erasmus School of Law (arcuri@law.eur.nl) 
Dr. Florin Coman-Kund, Erasmus School of Law 
Dr. Federica Violi, Erasmus School of Law

First Young Erasmus Food for Thought Lab

The TTIP and the future of the transatlantic regulatory state
 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Van der Goot M-building (room Athene), Woudestein Campus, Erasmus University

During the G7 Summit, concluded on June 8 2015, heads of states have renewed their commitments to move forward with the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP). As the transatlantic negotiators and bureacrats seem steadfast in their goal of concluding this partnership, the TTIP discontents are on the rise, portraying the deal as an attack on democracy and as a serious threat to the realization of domestic and supranational public policy. People fear that the institutionalization of a transatlantic Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will further empower multinational corporations and weaken the powers of the regulatory state to protect the public interest (e.g. protection of the environment, social rights, etc.). The recent statements at the G7 dismiss the wide-spread concerns of Europeans. Are the TTIP discontents misinformed and incapable of appreciating the future prosperity the TTIP will bring about? Or are the politicians lacking instutional sensitivity by ingoring legitimate political concerns?

Young Erasmus, together with the Erasmus Institute for Public Knowledge (EIPK), invites academics, politicians and citizens for an afternoon of debate, dialogue and reflection aimed at identifying the major sources of controversy surrounding the TTIP negotiations. In unpacking the legal-technical world underlying the TTIP negotiations, the participants will look prospectively at the negotiations and assess how the interest of the public is reflected in the negotiating documents.   

The Lab will  address two major thematic areas: ISDS and Regulatory Cooperation

1. One of the most controversial dimensions of the TTIP is the adoption of the Investor State Dispute Settlement System (ISDS). In a process of public consultation initiated by the European Commission, a vast majority of respondents has unequivocally rejected the ISDS. One of the main concerns is related to the further institutionalization of this dispute settlement mechanism. In response, the Commission has not abandoned the idea of an ISDS, but has proposed a revised form of ISDS. We will look at the revised ISDS and discuss in what ways this new proposal may result in a fix to the wide-spread concerns or whether these concerns are of a more fundamental nature.

2. A less debated part of the negotiations relates to the chapters on Regulatory Cooperation and on various thematic areas, including Sanitary and Phitosanitary measures, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, services and so on. These chapters can be seen, on the one hand, as the institutionalization and legalization of emerging practices of regulatory cooperation, and on the other hand, as the extension of the existing international legal framework aimed at depoliticizing transnational decision-making. Given that the negotiating documents are somewhat buried in technical language, our goal is to try to decypher what could be the practical implications of these chapters for our regulatory systems.

 

Programme

13.30-14.30 Introducing the Debate

TTIP: an Informed debate

The first part of the Lab is aimed at clarifying the basic legal architecture of the TTIP to the general public, including interested citizens, students, academics, policy-makers and journalists that do not possess the legal background to appreciate the various dimensions of the TTIP. The most controversial institutions, such as the ISDS mechanism, will be critically introduced. We will also identify some of the most relevant questions underlying the debate and controversies around the TTIP.

Dr. Alessandra Arcuri, Associate Professor, Erasmus School of Law, Young Erasmus

Dr. Isabel Feichtner, Associate Professor for Law and Economics, Goethe University Frankfurt

Coffee Break

15.00-17.30 Public Debate

TTIP and the future of the regulatory state: an informed debate, informing the debate.

The debate will touch upon the general theme of the Food for Thought Lab. The discussion leaders will provide a balanced mix of opinions. Based on their different fields of expertise, they will briefly present thought-provoking reflections on the theme of the Lab (5-10 minutes each). An expert panelist will briefly comment and raise some questions to start the discussion. The participants are then invited to actively contribute to the debate. The moderator will be introducing and chairing the debate.

Discussion Leaders:

Prof. Dr. Fabian Amtenbrink, Professor of European Union Law, Erasmus School of Law

Dr. Freya Baetens, Associate Professor of Law at the Europa Institute of the Leiden Law School

Dr. M. Bartl, Post-Doc and Veni Laureate, UvA

Dr. Laurens Ankersmit, EU Trade & Environmental Lawyer, ClientEarth, Brussels

Moderator:

Dr. Alessandra Arcuri, Associate Professor, Erasmus School of Law, Young Erasmus

Expert Panelist:

Susan Cohen Jehoram, Greenpeace