Luxembourg backtracks on Energy Charter Treaty withdrawal

(EurActiv, 10 Feb 2021) Claude Turmes, the Grand Duchy’s energy minister who used to be at the forefront of calls to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty, has backtracked on his earlier statements, saying the EU should first aim to redouble efforts to reform the beleaguered post-Soviet-era charter.

Turmes, a former Green lawmaker in the European Parliament, has spearheaded efforts to reform the little-known Energy Charter Treaty, trying to build a coalition of like-minded EU countries to align the charter with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

When reform talks began in 2019, he argued that if discussions drag on for too long, the EU should consider a coordinated withdrawal.

However, Turmes is now having second thoughts on this strategy, warning of a contractual pitfall in the treaty that should encourage negotiators to continue talks.

“I do not believe that leaving the ECT is the right starting point,” Turmes argued in a letter addressed to the European Commission and dated 5 February.

EU countries are “a major force” among the 54 signatories of the treaty, making 65% of its budget, he pointed out, making the case for renewed efforts at European level to modernise the treaty.

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EurActiv, 10 Feb 2021: Luxembourg backtracks on Energy Charter Treaty withdrawal