France announces withdrawal from the Energy Charter

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the country’s intention to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty, which regulates energy cooperation between countries but has been criticised for its incompatibility with national climate change goals.

«France has decided to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty,» Macron told a news conference following the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, adding that the move was «consistent» with the country’s climate goals and the Paris climate agreement.

«We need to accelerate investment in renewable energy and nuclear power. I am concerned about the return of fossil fuels and hydrocarbons. War must not allow us to forget our commitments to reduce carbon emissions,» the French president added.

Macron’s statement was preceded by a conclusion of France’s High Council on Climate that continued membership of the Energy Charter constituted a threat to EU climate goals.

Earlier this week Spain, the Netherlands and Poland announced their withdrawal from the treaty, while Germany and Belgium signalled that they were considering such an option. Italy withdrew from the charter back in 2016.

The Energy Charter allows international companies and investors to sue governments over interference that affects the profits of energy projects. This provision has increasingly been seen as a threat to governments’ climate plans.

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