Statement on the start of the negotiations over Energy Charter Treaty’s modernisation

Anna Cavazzini, MEP for the Greens/EFA Group and Chair of the EP Monitoring Group on Investment, commented on the start of the third negotiation talks to modernise the Energy Charter Treaty:

„The Energy Charter Treaty is the embodiment of a fossil era that has to come to an end. The Treaty allows investors to bring EU member states in front of private arbitration panels when those governments take measures to save the climate. Through those private courts, billions of tax payers’ money is paid to fossil fuel investors who seem unwilling to accept that a transition is urgently needed.

I welcome the Commission’s initiative to reform the Energy Charter Treaty, but too many concerns remain: will it be an ambitious and effective reform, fully and immediately deleting fossil fuels from the definition of economic activities that are protected? Unfortunately, leaks have showed that this is not the case in the Commission’s proposal, which would retain protection of fossil fuel investments for another ten years after the reform. This is much too late to tackle the climate crisis we are in.

Finally, we have to face the reality. A successful reform is very unlikely, given the unanimity required by the Treaty members. The Commission therefore needs to set a clear deadline and prepare for leaving the Treaty if the negotiations do not show concrete results.”


  • Today, over 240 policy-makers from across Europe, including 102 MEPs, published a joint statement calling on the EU and Member States to explore pathways to jointly withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty, if at the end of the negotiation rounds this week the provisions protecting investments in fossil fuels are still not fully deleted.
  • On 8 October, the European Parliament adopted an amendment to its report on the European Climate Law in which it states that “The Union shall end protection of investments in fossil fuels in the context of the modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty.“
  • On Thursday 22nd October, at the request of the Greens/EFA Group, the European Parliament held a plenary debate on “aligning the Energy Charter Treaty with the Green Deal”. In the debate, Energy Commissioner Simson agreed that the Treaty needs a „substantial reform“ but recognised that its successful modernisation would be difficult given resistance from other Treaty members.
  • The negotiations starting on 3 November will go on until 6 November. This is the third round of negotiations so far, and the last one for this year. A further round is being planned for early 2021.