Commentary on the Energy Charter Treaty
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Commentary on the Energy Charter Treaty

Edited by Rafael Leal-Arcas

The Commentary on the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) provides a unique, article-by-article, textual analysis of this important international agreement. The ECT outlines a multilateral framework for cross-border cooperation in the energy sector based on the principles of open competitive markets and sustainable development.
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ARTICLE 18: SOVEREIGNTY OVER ENERGY RESOURCES

Peter Vajda, Varvara Aleksić and Tina Hunter

Abstract

The concept of state sovereignty dates back to the Peace of Westphalia that forms the foundation of modern international relations as well as international law. In international law, sovereignty means that a government possesses and exercises full control over affairs within its territory, which also includes sovereignty over its energy resources which can be considered as an extension of the principle of territoriality. The determination of state sovereignty is often subject to diplomatic disputes and the Charter of the United Nations requires a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council for the recognition of statehood. With regard to energy sovereignty, at least de facto territorial sovereignty is an obvious precondition. Article 18 of the Energy Charter Treaty is based on the principle of state sovereignty and reaffirms that energy sovereignty must be exercised in accordance with and subject to the rules of international law.

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