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Germany withdraws from Energy Charter Treaty to reach climate goals

Germany has decided to withdraw from a controversial international energy agreement, the Energy Charter Treaty, because it hampers the country’s transition to green energy, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Wednesday.

“The Energy Charter Treaty was and is an obstacle to the energy transition and is simply not compatible with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” the Green Party politician said.

However, the phase-out period is 20 years, which is “bitter news,” Habeck said.

The agreement has long been criticized by the Greens and environmental organizations, as it allows investors to take legal action against states before arbitration courts.

The deputy leader of the Green Party in parliament, Julia Verlinden, called the Energy Charter Treaty a superfluous relic from the fossil fuel era.

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“In times of climate crisis, it is absurd that companies can sue for missed profits from fossil investments as well as compensation for coal and nuclear phase-outs,” she said.

The withdrawal from the treaty is part of an agreement by the government coalition on a reorientation of trade policy, which the Cabinet has now confirmed.

This also includes a requirement that the parliamentary groups clear the way for a ratification of the EU trade agreement with Canada (CETA) after long-term criticism from the Greens. The parliament plans to vote on this on Thursday.

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