The Slovenia Times

Slovenia withdraws from Energy Charter Treaty

EconomyIndustry & AgricultureSpotlight

Slovenia has withdrawn from the Energy Charter Treaty, an international accord providing legal protection for foreign investments in the energy sector.

The government adopted the initiative to withdraw on 10 November, saying the treaty was outdated and a major obstacle to effective environmental and climate policies, and responsible energy policies. The parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee made the final decision on 16 November.

Slovenia has thus joined Italy, which has already withdrawn, whereas Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, and France have announced they would do the same.

The government has said that the 1998 accord started losing its significance, with the EU enlargement and further integration providing new and better possibilities for investment cooperation in the energy sector and the legal certainty of those involved.

One of the most significant outdated aspects of the treaty is the instrument of investment dispute resolution, which allows investors to take a signatory to international arbitration bypassing regular courts.

This is precisely the instrument that the UK energy and natural resources company Ascent Resources recently invoked as it made a request for arbitration against Slovenia after complications emerged in the country's green-lighting the company's gas project in the northeast of the country.

Slovenia has decided to withdraw from the treaty even though an agreement in principle was reached in June to update the document. The country believes the proposed amendments would bring much-needed changes, but these do not go far enough.

Despite withdrawing, Slovenia will retain observer status within the signatories' conference. It will also remain a signatory of the 2015 Energy Charter which encourages mutually beneficial energy cooperation among countries from the entire world without being legally binding.


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