Energy Charter Treaty: Entering yet another round of dead-end reform negotiations while 800,000 people demand the EU to withdraw

Energy transition

The fourth round of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) modernisation process kicks off today, March 2. But the ECT cannot be reformed. First of all, changes have to be made unanimously, which makes significant improvements very unlikely. Secondly, all reform proposals, including the EU’s, lack the ambition required to align this treaty with the Paris Agreement.

This means that the contracting parties are entering yet another round of fruitless negotiations from 2 to 5 March, with four more rounds planned until the end of this year – and no chance of success.

Arguments why the reform is bound to fail can be found in a media briefing, published today by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

While negotiations are continuing, pressure from various stakeholders is mounting on European countries to abandon the reform process and instead withdraw from the ECT. An online petition with this demand has raised almost 800,000 signatures in less than a week [1].

France and Spain [2] have both expressed considerable doubts about the likelihood of this reform to succeed and are asking the European Commission to assess the options for a joint withdrawal.

Trade and Climate Project Manager at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Cornelia Maarfield, states:
The Energy Charter Treaty is a dangerous tool used by energy companies to obstruct the clean energy transition. The reform will fail to change this. The European Union and its Member States must realise that the only way forward is to jointly withdraw from the treaty and ensure that no other countries join the ECT.

READ our media briefing on the ECT reform process and what to expect from the upcoming negotiation round.

Note to the editors:

[1] See for instance This petition is supported by a coalition of over 20 organisations, including Avaaz, Campact, Corporate Europe Observatory, Transnational Institute and

[2] See



Cristina Dascalu, communication coordinator,

Winnie Wendelin, communication intern


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