Expert workshop on "Energy investments tangled in the EU Bermuda Triangle: The ETC at crossroads

Windmills in Mölsheim, Germany. Photo: Karsten Würth, via Unsplash
Windmills in Mölsheim, Germany. Photo: Karsten Würth, via Unsplash

An online expert workshop on the Energy Charter Treaty, environmental and climate change law, hosted by Utrecht University will take place on 17 and 18 June 2021. This workshop, spread across two evenings is entitled: “Energy investments tangled in the EU Bermuda Triangle: The ECT at crossroads between investment protection, environmental protection and climate change mitigation measures?”

Introduction to the workshop theme

International investment law and international environmental law as two distinguished branches of international law developed separately. Historically, energy investments were intertwined in a narrative of development, energy security and the sovereign right of States to exploit their natural resources. However, parallel to the considerations of energy security and universal access to energy, environmental considerations have become paramount elements in energy law and policy. Energy and the environment are intrinsically linked: energy and environmental law are best envisaged as two sides of the same coin. Energy investments can make an essential contribution to satisfying energy demands and safeguard energy security, but they can also create significant risks. Throughout the energy cycle all relevant economic activities, from exploration and extraction to processing and transportation and even distribution of energy resources create environmental externalities. 

The workshop’s format

The workshop format consists of two panels composed of three speakers; each followed a roundtable discussion with all participants. The participants will be limited to the speakers, the organizers and a small number of interested colleagues to facilitate fruitful discussions. The workshop proceedings’ publication is envisaged with final papers with a length between 8.500-10.000 words (footnotes included) due by November 30, 2021. 


Day 1: Thursday 17 June (17.00-18.30)


Opening by the organizers of the workshop (max 10 min)


Panel I: Investment protection and environmental/climate change considerations: current challenges and synergies in the energy sector (50 min)


  • Unleashing the potential of clean energy in the context of the EU climate-neutral energy transition: is the ECT the big bad wolf? – Nikolas Giannopoulos (Utrecht University)


  • What protection for energy investments within the EU in light of the turbulent relationship between the ECT and EU law and policy (State aid Rules, energy union rules – need to promote investments in renewables)? – Ana Stanic ( E&A Law)


  • Will there be an increasing role for energy investments’ protection by contracts? – Crina Baltag (Stockholm University)


  • Moderator: Dalia Hussein (Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration)


Q&A session (30 min)

Day 2: Friday 18 June (17.00-19.15)


Panel II: The ECT at crossroads: Modernization or Termination? (60 min)


  • Introductory note on the Modernization process – Lukas Stifter (Chair, Modernisation Group - Energy Charter; Investment Policy Officer- Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs, Austria)


  • EU proposal for the modernization of the ECT: challenges and prospects – Jan Gerrit Westerhof (Head of the EU delegation in the ECT Modernisation Group, European Commission/DG Trade)


  • The ECT and the ISDS reform (against the backdrop of the UNCITRAL negotiations) – Anna De Luca (Macchi di Cellere Gangemi)


  • Modernization or Termination? Is the end of the ECT in sight? – Gani Abaidildinov (Eldwick Law)


  • Moderator: Stephan Schill (University of Amsterdam)

Q&A session (30 min)


Final roundtable: chair Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (University of Geneva), Dalia Hussein (Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration), and Stephan Schill (University of Amsterdam) (30 min)


Closing remarks by the organizers (15 min)