European Parliament tackles modernized Energy Charter Treaty and calls for coordinated withdrawal

Recently, EU member states failed to agree on a common position on this treaty revision, and the vote on whether to approve the modernization, scheduled for November 22 with all parties to the TCE, has been postponed.

The resolution adopted on Thursday has only a symbolic meaning. MEPs believe that the modernized version of the ECT is “not in line with the Paris Agreement” and is insufficient on several points, such as the need, they say, to fully implement investor-to-state dispute settlement clauses. abandon these clauses that allow investors to sue a state before an arbitration tribunal.

Even though the modernized ECT provides for the possibility of excluding existing investments in fossil fuels from protection after a certain period of time, this remains much too long in the future, the Chamber believes. The 10-year countdown would begin in August 2023 if everyone agrees to provisionally apply the agreement, but otherwise we would have to wait for ratification by three-quarters of the contracting parties, meaning we are approaching “the envisaged 20 years.” by the sunset clause” (there is a deadline in 2040), the text warns. Furthermore, “the definition of existing investments includes projects in the exploration phase and their possible future exploitation”.

At the same time, “neither the Union nor its Member States can remain a party to the current ECT”, the Parliament believes. He therefore advocates a coordinated withdrawal of the European states from the Treaty, coupled with the broadest possible agreement to neutralize the sunset clause (of 20 years). Preparing for such a withdrawal is “the best option for the Union to provide legal certainty and prevent the ECT from further undermining the Union’s climate and energy security ambitions”.

In recent months, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Luxembourg have announced their intention to withdraw from the ECT, with Italy being the only one to actually do so, back in 2016.

The resolution was supported by the Socialists (S&D), the Liberals/Macronists (Renew), the Ecologists (Greens/EFA) and La Gauche (the radical left). The largest group in parliament, the conservative right and the Christian Democrats of the EPP, was almost unanimously against, but two Belgians in the ranks stood out and voted in favor of the resolution: Pascal Arimont (CSP) and Benoit Lutgen (Les betrothed).

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