22 February 2024
by Sarah Morgan

UK to leave Energy Charter Treaty

The UK Government has confirmed its withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

© Photo by Nick Kane on Unsplash

Proposals to modernise the ECT, to better support cleaner technologies, have been subject of months of talks between European countries, resulting in no agreement and the subsequent decision to quit the ECT.

The UK joins 11 EU member states, including France, Spain and the Netherlands, in withdrawing from the treaty.

The Energy Charter Treaty, signed in 1994, was designed to promote international investment in the energy sector, historically providing protections for investors in fossil fuels.

Energy Security and Net Zero Minister Graham Stuart had announced in September 2023 that the UK would be reviewing its membership of the ECT if plans to update it were not adopted.

Discussions around reform of the Treaty have gone on for several years.

According to the UK Government, the European Parliament elections in 2024 mean modernisation could now be delayed indefinitely.  

The government have stated after considering the views of businesses, industry and civil society. Ministers will now instigate the UK’s withdrawal, which will take effect after one year, removing protections for new investments after this period.  

Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Graham Stuart, says, ‘The Energy Charter Treaty is outdated and in urgent need of reform but talks have stalled and sensible renewal looks increasingly unlikely.

‘Remaining a member would not support our transition to cleaner, cheaper energy, and could even penalise us for our world-leading efforts to deliver net zero.'