[Ip-health] Corporate lobbyist will lecture EU Parliament on ISDS

Ante Wessels ante at ffii.org
Tue Jan 27 02:48:41 PST 2015

Corporate lobbyist will lecture EU Parliament on ISDS

or http://bit.ly/1Le0wC2
with links

Today, Tuesday 27 January 2015, from 15:00 - 18:00, the European Parliament Legal Affairs and International Trade committees will hold a joint public hearing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): regulatory aspects and investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) and arbitration. (Programme, video)

One of the speakers will be Dr. Freya Baetens, announced as "Associate Professor of Law, Leiden University".

The programme does not mention she is also a lawyer and a corporate lobbyist.

She is an associate at VGB Advocaten / Avocats, an independent international law firm based in Brussels, Belgium. As a lawyer she has a financial interest in the existence of ISDS. 

She was one of the main authors of a Dutch government study on ISDS. 

At the time she declared she was neutral as she also worked with an non governmental organisation (NGO). This NGO is CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council. She spoke at a CEFIC workshop on:

"Legal predictability is important for industry (legal certainty or even legitimate expectations). To what extent can EU institutions modify the law? What about companies' investment and competitiveness? Which legal principles can be used to oppose 'abrupt' changes? Could the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights be helpful? Which remedies are available to companies, if these changes occur, under either EU law or international law?" (mirror)

Her name is also attached to a CEFIC presentation dated 31 March 2014 containing a pro-ISDS argumentation training and an outline for pro-ISDS lobby work. At the time Baetens was involved in the Dutch government ISDS study. The document looks genuine, but this is not confirmed.

It is not a problem that a lawyer and corporate lobbyist speaks at the European Parliament. It is a problem when she is only announced as an academic.

The Dutch government study was deeply flawed. See: Shortcomings in Dutch government study on investor - state arbitration. The Dutch government never asked her a declaration of interest. What will the European Parliament do?

And Baetens, will she, at the European Parliament meeting, again say she is neutral as she did NGO work? 

If you can read Dutch, here is the Vrijschrift document on conflicts of interest surrounding the government study.

More information about the Ip-health mailing list