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Following an announcement by the Energy Charter Secretariat and signatories to the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) today on the “modernisation” of the treaty, Left MEPs have lashed out at a clear example of greenwashing.

 The Energy Charter Treaty jeopardises the EU’s climate neutrality target, runs counter to the stated ambitions of the EU Green deal and is a real threat to the 2015 Paris climate accords. In the “modernised” ECT, protection of fossil fuel investments remains untouched in a large number of countries, the EU and the UK will phase out protection of current fossil fuel investment, but only starting in 10 years from now and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism remains unchanged.

ECT, an international investment agreement from the mid-1990s, with 53 member countries, including EU countries, the UK and Japan, allows companies to sue governments for early closure of coal, oil and gas plants. Spain alone has been sued 50 times by investors using the ECT.

The European Parliament’s vote on the future of EU international investment policy, during the Brussels plenary this week, was crystal clear on ECT: we need to cut out fossil fuel protection immediately, get rid of the investor-state dispute settlement model and give policy space for EU’s climate action.

Today’s agreement does not meet any of the red lines set by the European Parliament.It is just delaying real action to tackle the climate emergency. It will leave the power to shape energy policies to private companies. ECT will continue being an obstacle to the creation of a fair energy model, based on renewables and under public control.

This week, Spain expressed its desire to withdraw from the agreement. Also the Dutch Parliament asked the government to follow Spain’s call for the EU to withdraw from the ECT.

No reform is possible for this treaty, this is why the EU must exit the ECT.

 

Emmanuel Maurel, Left MEP (La France Insoumise, France) said :

“The Energy Charter Treaty is an aberration limiting states’ action in terms of nature protection. Many experts have been calling for a reform of this treaty for years, but nothing has been done. It continues to protect the most polluting companies. The European Parliament’s vote on the future of the EU international investments sends a strong and clear sign for ECT: stop the protection of investments in fossil fuels and end the investor-state dispute settlement. Therefore, we must prepare for a rapid coordinated exit of all EU Member States from ECT. Otherwise, we cannot have real measures for climate action and comply with the Paris Agreement.”

Manon Aubry, Co-Chair of the Left, (La France Insoumise, France) commented on the treaty: “The proposed revision of the Energy Charter Treaty is a greenwashing exercise. The European Parliament had set redlines for acceptable reform, they have not been met, by far. The EU must start coordinating its exit now.”

Sira Rego, Left MEP (Izquierda Unida, Spain) added: “Exiting this obsolete treaty is the only way. We need to be out so that economic interests stop imposing their agenda on a planet that cannot withstand the constant exploitation of its resources, exploitation that only aggravates the eco-social crisis”.

 

 

 

 

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