Friends of the Earth Malta joins the request to withdraw Energy Charter Treaty

Friends of the Earth Malta joins the request to withdraw Energy Charter Treaty

Today, the discussion on the future of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) continues in EU negotiations. Friends of the Earth Malta is supporting a broad European civil society alliance to push for EU member states to leave the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). This international treaty allows fossil fuel companies to sue states in private arbitration courts if they enact new laws on climate protection.

The ECT is a barrier to the energy transition, is incompatible with EU law and undermines the European Green Deal. A growing number of EU member states already agree with ECT withdrawal, such as Germany, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. In July even the European Commission proposed a coordinated EU withdrawal. We ask the Maltese government to join them and support the withdrawal from this harmful treaty, which stands in the way to achieving a fossil free future for Malta.

Why is an EU withdrawal unavoidable?

● The ECT reform does not have enough political support: The European Parliament has rejected the reform as insufficient and called on the Commission and Member States to initiate a coordinated withdrawal. Over 1 million citizens have signed a petition for withdrawal and seven of the EU’s Member States have already decided to leave (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Luxembourg and Slovenia; Italy already left in 2016), including its major outward investors.

● There is no plausible scenario for the reform to ever enter into force if the EU remains a member. EU ratification requires the consent of the European Parliament and all EU Member States (see this legal blog), including those that want to leave or have left.

● The ECT is an obstacle to sovereign climate and energy policies, even if it were to be reformed. The French High Council on Climate has concluded that the ECT, “even in a modernised form, is not compatible with the pace of decarbonisation of the energy sector and the intensity of emissions reduction efforts needed by 2030, as reiterated by the IEA and assessed by the IPCC.” Recently, investors have also started launching cases against policies adopted in response to the energy price crisis (see for instance).

● It is generally accepted that the current version of the ECT is fundamentally incompatible with EU law and the only way forward for the EU and the Member States to rectify this is a coordinated withdrawal.

Read more about the options forward with the energy charter treaty in the documents below!

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