French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday that France would quit the Energy Charter treaty, making it the biggest economy to announce it was quitting the troubled deal.
The pact, which allows companies and international investors to sue governments for interventions that harm 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 told a press conference following a summit of European leaders in Brussels, adding that the decision was “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 that they are considering their options.
Earlier this week, France’s High Council for Climate said continued adherence to the treaty posed a threat to EU climate goals.
“We need to accelerate investment in renewable energy and nuclear,” Macron said. “I am concerned about the return of fossil fuels and hydrocarbons. The war must not make us forget our commitment to reduce carbon emissions.”
France’s withdrawal is a blow to the deal and also to the European Commission, which has urged countries to back the treaty’s reforms.
Over the summer, the Commission completed a negotiation with the other treaty members which culminated in a proposal to grant the EU an exemption to phase out protections for fossil fuel projects in the EU. EU over the next 10 years.
The Commission told POLITICO this week that leaving the deal would expose countries to lawsuits for existing investments for 20 years, due to a sunset clause that binds them to their obligations.
Clea Caulcutt contributed reporting.