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17 Mai 2022

Frédéric Simon, Euractiv

Europe "edging closer" to withdrawal from Energy Charter Treaty

'Europe edging closer to withdrawal from Energy Charter Treaty', 17 May 2022

"More European Union countries have shown signs of impatience with the ongoing reform of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which critics say impedes international efforts to phase out fossil fuels, according to leaked diplomatic cables seen by EURACTIV.

Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain are frustrated with attempts to reform the ECT and expressed doubts that the EU can fulfil its mandate of aligning the treaty with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The four countries have invited the European Commission, which negotiates on behalf of the 27 EU member states, to assess how a coordinated withdrawal could be initiated according to EU procedures and prepare for “possible exit scenarios in a timely manner,” the leaked cables reveal.

“Spain also made it clear that it would consider an exit scenario, as it did not see how the Energy Charter Treaty could be adapted to the Paris Agreement,” according to the leaked cables, which were translated into English from an unspecified European language...

...Environmental campaigners, meanwhile, are raising the pressure on the Commission with a protest planned in Brussels later today at the Schumann roundabout in the heart of the European quarter. “The climate-action killer ECT can never be made compatible with the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal,” said Paul de Clerck, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe. He denounced the tentative compromise being negotiated with Japan, saying: “The expected deal will extend protection of fossil fuel investments for at least another decade, which is incompatible with the Paris Agreement.” “The only sound option for the EU and member states to live up to their climate responsibilities is to withdraw from this toxic ECT.”..."