Ahead of Wednesday’s final European Parliament vote on the Canada-EU trade deal, a new report shows the devastating effects the agreement could have on EU member states whose citizens and courts block harmful mines. A lawsuit over the controversial Roşia Montană mine in Romania highlights governments’ vulnerability to expensive investor-state challenges attacking member state decisions to protect the environment and people’s health.
A day before the European Parliament votes on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, a new report co-published by Corporate Europe Observatory, ‘Gold-digging with investor-state lawsuits’, warns against the trade deal’s facilitation of multi-billion investor claims. The case study focuses on the controversial Roşia Montană gold mine, the suspended development of which has led Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources to sue the Romanian state under the terms of agreements with investor rights similar to CETA.
The proposed cyanide-based goldmine in the Romanian town of Roşia Montană has faced strong community resistance due to its negative impact on the environment, the local economy and the region’s cultural heritage. It is on hold after Romanian courts invalidated several required permits.
Over this, the project’s majority owner Gabriel Resources is suing Romania at a World Bank-based international investment tribunal, seeking a reported US$ 4 billion in compensation for the alleged failure of the country to issue the necessary permits.
In their new report, CEO, MiningWatch Romania, the Independent Centre for the Protection of the Environment and Alburnus Maior – a community organisation from Roşia Montană – compare the mining company’s claim with the legal provisions under CETA. The case study finds that the deal’s far-reaching investor rights could lead to a flood of similar lawsuits by North American companies against the EU and its member states, including US investors with subsidiaries in Canada.