The European Parliament has approved a resolution rejecting the reform of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and calling for a joint EU withdrawal from the Treaty. The EP considers the reform failed to align the ECT with the Paris Agreement and the EU Climate Law since it will continue to allow fossil fuel investors to challenge climate policies for longer than a decade.
The European Parliament has today rejected the reform of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) as unaligned with the Paris Agreement and called for a coordinated EU withdrawal. The vote took place a week after a coalition of EU governments also opposed the ECT’s reform at the EU Council. Both votes commend the Commission’s efforts to reform the treaty but send a strong message: it is not enough and has thus run its course.
The European Parliament decision adds to pressure on the Commission to prepare a joint exit from the Energy Charter Treaty. A joint walkout would mitigate the legal risks for all and provide certainty to foreign investors and policymakers about the EU’s energy transition. It would be the first time ever that a group of countries leaves an international agreement to comply with the Paris Agreement.
At least seven EU Member States had already announced their withdrawal in the last weeks – Spain, Poland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Luxembourg. Italy already withdrew in 2016. These countries represent over 70% of the EU’s population and 75% of EU investments abroad. All based their decision on the reform’s shortcomings to align the ECT with climate action.
Ignacio Arróniz, Researcher on Trade and Climate policies at E3G said:
“This is it – the ECT has run its course. The European Parliament and the Council have sent a clear message in a week: the reform of the Energy Charter Treaty failed, we want out. The Commission did its best at the negotiating table, but outside of it, the world changed and so did energy and climate politics. They should now step forward with a plan to walk away from this climate-killing treaty. A clean slate will allow us to support those tools tailored to promote the green transition without fossil fuels blocking progress“
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Notes to editors
- The ECT is an international investment agreement signed by 53 countries, including the whole EU, the UK, Switzerland, Japan, Turkey, and most central Asian republics. It was originally intended to protect European energy investments in key partner countries by allowing investors to sue governments over policy changes. Fossil fuel investors have abused the ECT to challenge climate policies that make their assets less profitable. Thousands of smaller investment agreements exist globally, but the ECT is the most litigated among them and has become a symbol of an outdated approach to governing investments.
- Read E3G’s recent briefing papers on the Energy Charter Treaty reform: An Energy Charter Treaty that works for clean investments and New Energy Charter Treaty will keep hindering climate action.
- E3G is an independent climate change think tank with a global outlook. We work on the frontier of the climate landscape, tackling the barriers and advancing the solutions to a safe climate. Our goal is to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action. About – E3G
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