On Wednesday 13 May 2015, the Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat, Dr. Rusnák, briefed Slovak journalists on the contribution of the Energy Charter to the European Union’s proposed Energy Union, especially in terms of its the external dimension (or lack thereof), on the International Energy Charter (IEC) political declaration as well as other activities of the Energy Charter.
First, the Secretary General commented on the relationship between the Energy Charter and the Energy Union. In his view, the Energy Union package is missing a well-planned and defined external dimension. While the integration of energy systems within the European Union is well developed among most of its Member States, little emphasis is put on the connection with partners outside of the European Union's geographic coverage. The Energy Charter can be the instrument to reach out to countries around the world, especially those energy producing states which should be taken into account in the external dimension of the Energy Union.
In the second part of his briefing, Dr. Rusnák outlined some background information on the Energy Charter Treaty. He then explained the history of the Energy Charter Process, starting with the 1991 European Energy Charter declaration and coming to the Charter modernisation process that has ultimately led to a new political declaration, the International Energy Charter. The IEC comes as a response to a changing global energy landscape and an adaptation of the 1991 Charter text to modern challenges and dynamics in the energy sector.
The International Energy Charter will be signed and adopted during the Ministerial Conference in The Hague on 20-21 May 2015. It is a document open for any country interested in joining the Energy Charter Process. One of the main reasons why countries are interested in the Energy Charter and why some choose to accede the Treaty, explained Dr. Rusnák, is the special protection and promotion of investment through a multilateral legally binding framework of rules.