Energy Charter Treaty - Chronicle of a death foretold
The European Commission is finally recognising what the Left has been saying for years when it comes to the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT): the only way is out.
The Commission announced this week that the ECT is ‘not in line’ with the bloc’s climate goals. Therefore, it recommends that EU countries carry out a coordinated withdrawal. The Commission’s recommendation acts upon an overwhelming vote in the European Parliament, which the Left pushed for, calling for an EU-coordinated exit from ECT.
ECT, the world’s most used investment treaty, was designed in the 1990s to encourage Western European companies to invest in Central and Eastern European countries. Nowadays, it offers generous protection to coal, oil and gas investments by allowing companies to sue countries for profits lost because of changes in government policy. This happens even when these policies are needed to fight climate change.
With the Commission’s announcement, we are a step closer to entirely burying this climate-killing agreement and it follows our long fight alongside thousands of activists and civil society organisations. The decision lies now with the Council, which needs a qualified majority. France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Poland have already declared they will exit the ECT and at least nine other countries are considering withdrawal: Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Latvia.
MEP Emmanuel Maurel (La France Insoumise) declared:
“A Left victory: the European Commission is throwing in the towel. After the European Parliament’s vote in December, it finally recommended a group exit of the member states from the Energy Charter Treaty. This is a climate-killing treaty that protects the profits of oil and gas multinationals at the expense of the climate.”
MEP Sira Rego (Izquierda Unida, Spain) added:
“The Energy Charter Treaty is dead. Its dogmatism and rigidity, favouring the investments of the big energy oligopolies, mainly in fossil fuels, have made its modernisation impossible. The process was clearly a dead end and that is why the Left always insisted on the need for a coordinated exit from the Treaty. The European Commission, after much resistance, has once again proved us right on the energy issue, recognising that leaving the EU bloc is inevitable. What is needed now is clarity and transparency and for the Commission to provide the Parliament with a clear timetable for the procedure to be followed to make the exit effective. In short, we are glad that we are finally leaving a Treaty that makes us hostage to the extortions of the oligopolies and constrains us when it comes to undertaking courageous public policies to combat climate change.”