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Energy charter leadership contest down to two-horse race

The leadership contest at the Brussels-based Energy Charter Treaty Secretariat appears to be down to two candidates, the current secretary-general, Slovakia’s Urban Rusnák, and Guy Lentz from Luxembourg, EURACTIV has learned from sources familiar with the situation.

29 marzo 2021

The European Commission, which steers negotiations on the ECT modernisation for the 27-member European Union, has already voiced formal objections to re-appointing the Slovak incumbent for another five years. It will update the 27 national representatives on the state of play in the race to lead the ECT on Tuesday (30 March).

Rusnák has held the office since 2012. Lentz is currently the energy attaché for Luxembourg at the EU Council of Ministers, the institution representing the 27 EU member states.

EU countries have until the end of March to file applications and EURACTIV understands there is no third candidate. “Guy Lentz applied on 22 December,” said an EU diplomatic source with insider knowledge of the situation. A second EU source confirmed that Lentz and Rusnák were the only contenders in the race.

Campaigners have criticised the Energy Charter Treaty for hampering climate action. The treaty caught worldwide media attention last month when German energy giant RWE used it to claim €1.4 billion in compensation from the Netherlands over its planned coal phase-out.

France has also expressed frustration with the slow pace of negotiation to reform the treaty, saying the EU should consider withdrawing from the ECT if a unanimous agreement cannot be found to align the charter with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

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