Slovenia: NGOs urge EU to exit ECT

Slovenia: NGOs urge EU to exit ECT

A group of Slovenian environmental NGOs has called on Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec as a representative of the Slovenian EU presidency to propose a political discussion on the EU exiting the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) at the September informal meeting of ministers in charge of energy.

The call from the Slovenian NGOs comes after more than 400 European civil society organisations have called on EU leaders to stick to their climate change promises, prioritise climate policies and exit the ECT, STA Agency report says.

“The Energy Charter Treaty is an obstacle in the transition to clean energy, which is why it is high time to exit it,” the NGO Umanotera said in a press release on Monday.

In November, EU leaders have been called to exit the ECT not later than by the international COP26 climate conference.

“If we want to prevent the worst consequences of the climate crisis, we need to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, countries … that have started abandoning fossil fuels remain captives of fossil industry.”

According to Umanotera, the reason is the ECT, which enables energy corporations to sue countries for astronomic amounts over their climate policies.

It noted that Slovenia could soon end up in court in the case of Ascent Resources, the British company that has announced a EUR 120 million lawsuit over Slovenia’s decision to order extra studies of hydraulic fracturing in the north-east of the country.

Plan B for the Slovenia network has thus addressed an initiative to Minister Vrtovec in which it calls for Slovenia and other EU member states to exit the ECT mechanism.

“Only politics can cut this Gordian Knot and decide whether it will protect our living environment or the profits of energy giants,” said Lidija Živčič of the association Focus.

“Although it may seem unbelievable, the question of how long we will be hostages of fossil industry currently depends mostly on Slovenia as the presiding country of the Council of the EU,” added Andrej Gnezda of Umanotera.