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24 Apr 2024

The Guardian

MEPs vote to leave treaty used by investors to sue over climate policies

European lawmakers have voted to escape a treaty that lets investors sue governments in private courts for pursuing policies that stop the planet from heating.

Fossil fuel companies have used the energy charter treaty (ECT), an international trade agreement from the 1990s, to demand billions of euros of taxpayers’ money in opaque tribunals set up to protect investors.

Several European countries have already announced their exit from the treaty but efforts to coordinate an EU-wide withdrawal had met resistance from member states...

In recent years a dozen countries including France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain have announced their exit from the treaty as efforts to modernise it have failed. The UK announced it would leave in February...

The measure was passed on Wednesday with 560 votes in favour of leaving, 43 against and 27 abstentions, and must be approved by the Council of the European Union before it comes into force.

The compromise solution offers a coordinated withdrawal of the EU as a whole but allows member states who want to modernise the treaty freedom to stay.