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Energy Charter Treaty: EU notifies its withdrawal

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The European Union has taken the final and formal step of exiting the Energy Charter Treaty. The President of the Council, as represented by the Belgian presidency and acting on behalf of the Union, gave written notification to the depositary of the Energy Charter Treaty of the withdrawal of the Union from the Treaty. The withdrawal will take effect one year after the depositary has received the notification.

“Thanks to the political compromise found between member states, known as the Belgian roadmap, the European Union and Euratom will be leaving the Energy Charter Treaty in one year’s time”, said Tinne Van der Straeten, Belgian Minister for Energy. “Remaining member states will be able to support the modernised Treaty. This reflects the quintessence of work within the Council; being able to achieve balanced solutions through constructive negotiation and compromise”.

With the two decisions adopted on 30 May 2024, the Council of the European Union gave the final green light for the European Union and Euratom to leave the Energy Charter Treaty; at the same time, remaining member states will be able to support its modernisation when voted during the next Energy Charter Conference. These decisions are linked as they form the two pillars of a political compromise known as the Belgian roadmap for the Energy Charter Treaty.

The Energy Charter Treaty is a multilateral agreement that entered into force in 1998 and which contains, amongst other things, provisions on investment protection, dispute settlement, transit and trade in the energy sector.

On 7 July 2023, the Commission submitted a proposal for a Council decision on the withdrawal of the Union from the Energy Charter Treaty, together with a similar proposal for Euratom, as it considered it to no longer be compatible with the EU’s climate goals under the European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement, predominantly due to concerns over continued fossil fuel investments.

On 1 March 2024, the Commission proposed two draft Council decisions on the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union and Euratom respectively in the relevant meeting of the Energy Charter Conference, and for the remaining member states to approve or not to oppose the modernised Energy Charter Treaty.

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The four decisions were formally adopted on 30 May 2024 as the two pillars of a compromise reached within the Council.

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