Letter from Spanish Government to European Commission regarding the Energy Charter Treaty Modernization Process - English - 9 February 2021
Madrid, 9 February 2021
Dear Executive Vice-Presidents, dear Commissioner,
The mandate given by the Council to the European Commission in July 2019 for the modernization of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) aims to modernise its provisions on sustainable development and climate goals and reform investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement rules in line with the modern standards settled by the EU. For that purpose, it will be essential to ensure the alignment of the ECT with the Paris Agreement and the objectives of the European Green Deal while preserving our ability to develop public policy measures consistent with our commitment to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
However, the ongoing negotiations for the modernisation of the ECT are difficult and it seems not to be possible to reach a deal consistent with Paris goals. They started in July 2020 and after three rounds - with hardly any participation from numerous signatory countries- no preliminary outcomes have been reached.
Many Contracting Parties seem not to share European ambitions in the field of climate change mitigation, sustainable development and energy transition, despite the fact that all of them are also signatories of the Paris Agreement.
In this regard, it must be highlighted that Spain is extremely concerned about the possibility of not achieving a fully successful alignment with the above mention objectives.
It must be stressed that the modernisation process of the ECT is currently a matter of great sensitivity not only for the European and the national parliamentary representations, but also for our civil societies, who expect the European Union to place the climate emergency at the heart of all its policies.
The next round of negotiations for the ECT modernisation will take place during the first week of March, and it seems unlikely to obtain consensus on relevant topics although we will keep on working in this direction. This includes crucial items such as the definition of 'economic activity in the energy sector', the proper treatment according to our aspirations of fossil fuels, the addition of renewable / clean hydrogen to the list of protected energy materials or the added definition of biomass as sustainable.