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25 Jul 2022

Maxance Peigné, Investigate Europe

EU governments and Commission at odds over Energy Charter Treaty

Turów power station

'ECT: “ecocide” treaty puts Member States and EU Commission at odds', 25 July 2022

"European governments are still considering withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), despite the EU Commission’s efforts to modernise the controversial pact, documents leaked to Investigate Europe reveal. Several member states are dissatisfied with the result of two years of difficult negotiations supposed to bring the Energy Charter Treaty in line with the Paris Agreement and its aim to keep global warming “well below” 2°C. 

The gap is now widening between some EU governments, who fear the ECT will hamper their transition away from fossil fuels, and the Commission, who believes it can co-exist with its green policies.

Described as a threat to climate action by civil society and UN experts, the little-known treaty allows foreign investors in the energy sector to sue states over environmental reforms. Notorious cases include German giants RWE and Uniper asking the Netherlands for more than €2 billion in compensation for the country’s decision to phase out coal...

... Spain said it regarded leaving the ECT as the best option available, echoing the words of the country’s deputy Prime Minister, Teresa Ribera, who said prior to the June 24 summit that she favoured a withdrawal... Others have already made up their mind. In the days before the agreement in principle was announced, both the EU and the Dutch parliaments voted in favour of scrapping the ECT...."