EU Is Planning the Withdrawal From the Energy Charter Treaty

EnergyRenewables ♦ Published: February 9, 2023; 23:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

The European Union wants to exit from the Energy Charter Treaty since the contract is not compatible with the energy transition. Austria is examining its exit from the treaty since November.

The EU Plans to Withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty. / Picture: © User: Rainad, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The EU Commission is making a 180-degree turn and is now officially forcing the EU states to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). According to this, a withdrawal from the European Union is "inevitable" to achieve the climate goals, according to Die Presse. The prerequisite for a coordinated exit from the EU is a qualified majority among the EU states. This is within reach. The Austrian government has also been considering withdrawing from the contract since last November - but so far without a decision.

"We are in close contact with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and are examining the exit from the contract. Due to its complexity, this check should and must be carried out very carefully, which is why an exit from the contract cannot simply happen overnight. Germany and other EU countries also have So far only announced to leave, but are still formally contracting parties," said the office of Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) on Thursday, as reported by

The ECT is an agreement between 53 states including the EU. It allows fossil-fuel companies to sue states for damages before private tribunals for new climate protection laws that threaten their profits. Examples of this are corporate lawsuits against the coal phase-out in the Netherlands, against a ban on fracking in Slovenia, or the ban on an oil platform in Italy. The treaty thus restricts the democratic scope for more climate protection and endangers the energy transition. For years, the EU had tried to reconcile the treaty with the Paris climate goals. However, this has not been successful. Therefore, there is no majority for the revised treaty at the EU level.

According to Die Presse, Most recently, several EU countries, including France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain, announced that they would withdraw from the charter. An attempt by Austria to modernize the contract, which was repeatedly criticized for concerns about the energy transition, failed in December. The Energy Charter Treaty is a multilateral treaty signed in 1994 by the SPOE/OEVP government under Chancellor Franz Vranitzky. With ratification, Austria has been a member of the Energy Charter Treaty since 1998. This is an international treaty with over 50 member states.