EU flags, European Parliament, Strasbourg
EU flags, European Parliament, Strasbourg

EU energy ministers on Thursday gave final approval to withdraw the European Union from a controversial energy treaty heavily criticized by environmentalists.

Anna Cavazzini, a German EU legislator from the Green party, said the decision means the EU can “take decisive action for a climate-neutral future without the constant threat of multibillion-dollar corporate lawsuits.”

The Energy Charter Treaty entered into force in 1998 and was designed to protect investments from companies in oil, gas and coal projects by offering legal security.

For example investors may take legal action against states before arbitration tribunals.

The unanimous decision for a joint withdrawal comes after the European Parliament voted in favour of exiting the accord in April.

Germany already decided to withdraw from the treaty at the end of 2022.

Other EU countries such as France, the Netherlands and Spain had also announced their withdrawal, while Italy had already withdrawn in 2016. The withdrawal period lasts 20 years.

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