Belgian Greens advocate for exit from EU Energy Charter Treaty

Belgian Greens advocate for exit from EU Energy Charter Treaty
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The Green parties, Ecolo and Groen, have called on the Federal Government to advocate for Belgium's exit of the Energy Charter Treaty at the European Union level, which they accuse of playing into the hands of fossil fuel investments, according to the Belga.

The treaty, which was designed to protect investments, is based on a Charter devised in the 1990s to integrate eastern and western energy markets following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The treaty offers a means for energy companies and investment funds to prevent the EU from abandoning fossil fuels and to demand financial sanctions, according to NGO CNCD- 11.11.11.

Belgium has already questioned the EU on the legality of the treaty. In 2020, after consultations with both the Federal and regional governments, Belgium asked the European Court of Justice whether the mechanism was incompatible with existing treaties. The court has now ruled that it is too early to answer this question, as the treaty is currently being “modernised.”

The co-presidents of the Ecolo and Groen parties stated that “the new geopolitical context created by the Russian aggression against Ukraine reinforces the need to accelerate the climate transition and the urgency of building our independence from fossil fuels and the states that produce them.”

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The Belgian Greens see the treaty as an obstacle towards this goal, which protects “billions of euros invested in fossil fuels.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also stated that it believes that the treaty is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The new modernisation of the treaty, the greens argue, will not solve its fundamental problems, citing the treaty’s use of arbitration tribunals to protect fossil investments.

“For the time being, no review by independent judges is possible for these arbitration tribunal options. If the EU wants to take a leadership role in the fight against climate change, it can no longer be a party to a treaty that protects climate-damaging investments,” the Greens say.

The Greens state that Belgium should publicly advocate for a quick, coordinated exit of all the EU Member States from the treaty.

“This position will allow our country to join its voice to that of civil society, the European Parliament and several other Member States such as Germany, France or the Netherlands."

To date, since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU has spent more than €60 billion on fossil fuels from Russia.

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