French President Emmanuel Macron announced Friday that France will leave the Energy Charter Treaty, making it the largest economy to announce it’s quitting the embattled deal.
The pact, which allows international companies and investors to sue governments over interventions that hit the profits of energy projects, is increasingly seen as a threat to national climate plans.
“France has decided to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty,” Macron said at a press conference following an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, adding that the move is “coherent” with the country’s climate ambitions and the Paris climate agreement.
The decision follows announcements from Spain, the Netherlands and Poland that they will withdraw from the pact. Germany and Belgium have signaled they are considering their options.
Earlier this week, France’s High Council on Climate said continued membership of the treaty posed a threat to the EU’s climate goals.
“We need to accelerate investment in renewables and nuclear,” said Macron. “I’m concerned with the return of fossil fuels and hydrocarbons. The war must not let us forget our commitment to reduce carbon emissions.”
France’s withdrawal is a major blow to the deal and also to the European Commission, which has urged countries to back reforms to the treaty.
In the summer, the Commission completed a negotiation with the other members of the treaty that ended with a proposal to give the EU an exemption to phase out protections for fossil fuel projects in the EU in the next 10 years.
The Commission told POLITICO this week that leaving the deal would expose countries to lawsuits from existing investments for 20 years, due to a sunset clause that binds them to their obligations.
Clea Caulcutt contributed reporting.