after France, Germany in turn withdraws from the Energy Charter Treaty

After France, Spain and the Netherlands, the German government in turn announced the exit from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). This 30-year convention is accused of hindering climate ambitions. The TCE had been ratified in 1994 by some fifty countries, including those of the former Soviet bloc, and aimed to guarantee the supply of fossil fuels to Western Europe. It allows the energy giants to revolt against the signatory states of the treaty that would implement climate policies that are unfavorable to their investments.

The parliamentary groups of the member parties of the ruling coalition, Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals, gave the green light to this exit, proposed by the government, on Friday. ” We constantly orient our company policy towards climate protection and, consequently, nWe wish, like our European partners, France, the Netherlands, Spain or Poland, to register Germany’s withdrawal from the TEC and at the same time ratify the CETA agreement the three sides said in a note.

At the same time, the parliamentary groups of the member parties of the ruling coalition, the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals have given their consent to the ratification of the CETA trade agreement with Canada. The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) was also seen as an obstacle to the ratification of the CETA free trade treaty between the European Union and Canada. Legislation confirming these measures is expected to be presented to the Bundestag at the end of the month, they said.

Last month, France announced its withdrawal from ECT. “France has decided to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty (…) This is consistent with our European climate strategy”, said French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of a European summit in Brussels. “ Several recent cases show that (the TCE) has led to somewhat speculative mechanisms and significant rewards for some players. of fossil fuels, the French president noted.

Case in point: after the adoption of a Dutch law banning coal by 2030, the German energy company RWE is asking The Hague for 1.4 billion euros to compensate for the losses of a thermal power plant. In September, Italy was sentenced to pay 180 million euros to the British oil company Rockhopper for refusing its offshore drilling permit. German company Encavis AG has also filed legal action against France following the change in feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic electricity in 2020.

Faced with the proliferation of litigation, Europeans have been working to modernize the text since 2020. A compromise was reached in June aimed at preventing frivolous or opportunistic claims and excluding from the scope of the treaty – after a 10-year transition – investments already started in fossil fuels. It is due to be confirmed in November with a formal unanimous vote. In June, Yamina Saheb, an economist who contributed to the IPCC (United Nations Climate Experts) report, listed 146 ECT-related disputes, two-thirds of them intra-European, and the compensation awarded exceeds 42 billion euros.

There remains the thorny question of survival clause of the TCE to protect for another 20 years, after the withdrawal of a signatory country, the fossil fuel plants covered by the treaty. The High Council for Climate (HCC), a French advisory body, recommended that ” neutralize this clause to avoid prolonging the negative effects of the treaty by two decades.

Russia already withdrew from the treaty in 2009, followed by Italy in 2015. Poland has initiated a parliamentary procedure to withdraw from the ECT. Like France, and now Germany, Spain and the Netherlands have also announced that they want to leave the TCE, asking ” a coordinated exit from all EU countries.

(With AFP and Reuters)