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France holds up EU energy agreement over nuclear power

Paris withdraws support for renewable targets law as it seeks inclusion of hydrogen produced with atomic power Alice Hancock in Brussels and Sarah White in Paris 17 May 23

France is leading a coalition of countries holding up agreement on EU-wide targets for renewable energy, as it makes a fresh drive for better treatment of its nuclear industry. The move comes amid a broader pushback against the bloc’s climate agenda as the realities of what is required for the green transition become increasingly apparent. The EU’s 27 member states were due to agree an overall target of 42.5 per cent of renewable power in the bloc’s energy mix by 2030 on Wednesday.

But France, which relies on nuclear power for the majority of its electricity, signalled that it would not support the text, citing concerns that “low-carbon” hydrogen generated with electricity from atomic power plants would not be counted as part of the targets.

“It must be possible for nuclear-derived electricity to coexist with renewable electricity without discrimination,” a French diplomat said. The vote, which was pulled from the agenda of an ambassadors’ meeting at 11.30pm on Tuesday night, would have paved the way for the targets to become EU law following their approval in the European parliament.

……………………….. Other member states said that having the bloc’s two largest countries push for last-minute changes to green legislation set a dangerous precedent for the EU’s policymaking process and could affect its path to achieving an overall target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

The EU commission said it remained committed to a “rapid rollout” of renewable energy as a critical element of the bloc’s goal to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to reduce its dependence on Russian fuels. “The new rules need to be adopted and implemented as swiftly as possible.”……………………………

Six pro-nuclear countries, including the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary, followed Paris’s lead on Wednesday and withheld support for the directive. Meanwhile, anti-nuclear governments, including in Germany and Austria, have been strongly opposed to recognising nuclear power as a clean fuel. Earlier this week, Paris convened a meeting of ministers from 14 countries with nuclear energy capacity along with the EU’s energy commissioner, Kadri Simson…………………………………………….


May 18, 2023 - Posted by | EUROPE, politics international

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