Mayors from Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands have today sent a letter to EU leaders calling for a full and coordinated withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty. The six signatories, representing Leuven, Budapest, Lyon, Grenoble, Grenoble Alpes-Metropole, Klimaatverbond (175 local authorities in the Netherlands) are members of the EUs 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030.
Remaining in the Energy Charter Treaty is a clear obstacle to achieving the aims of Europe’s most ambitious cities. The timeline of the proposed reform would protect gas facilities until 2043 and all fossil fuels until 2033, three years after the target for climate neutrality.
The full letter can be found below.
We, mayors of the Climate Mission cities, are doing everything in our power to accomplish a reimagining of our cities unlike anything the world has ever seen. The transition is difficult but will ultimately benefit our citizens, cities and those who follow in our paths. A large part of the transition to net zero is acceleration: more public transport, more efficiency, more circularity, more renewables, etc. It is also about stopping. In this case stopping the burning of fossil fuels.
While we accelerate the energy transition, we depend on our fellow leaders at national and European level to provide the ‘stopping’. In this case, stopping the Energy Charter Treaty by withdrawing from it. Fundamentally, the timeline for even a revised Energy Charter Treaty is too late for our collective ambition of Net Zero by 2030.
The so-called “agreement in principle” on the modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty, if adopted, at the Energy Charter Conference meeting planned for November 22nd in Mongolia, as proposed by the European Commission to the European Council will extend protection of existing foreign investment in all fossil fuels at least until 2033 and in gas at least until 2043.
The specter of unnecessary legal challenges to our transformative plans under the revised Energy Charter Treaty will only serve to bleed resources away from other efforts and bring delay.
We have a clear choice to make: we can aspire and strive and work for Net Zero by 2030 in our cities as we have committed with the European Commission or EU countries can remain in the Energy Treaty Charter. We cannot do both.
On November 22nd the European Commission must reject the so-called “agreement in principle” and initiate the procedure to withdraw the EU and to coordinate the notification to the Energy Charter Secretariat of EU and Member States’ withdrawal.
We thank you very much for your attention
Mayors of the Mission Climate Neutral Cities 2030
Mohamed Ridouani, Mayor of Leuven, Belgium
Grégory Doucet, Mayor of Lyon, France
Éric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble, France
Christophe Ferrari, Président de Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, France
Eckart Würzner, Mayor of Heidelberg, Germany
Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest, Hungary
Stephan Brandligt, Chair of Klimatverbond, the Netherlands
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, France