Molly meets Mr Joaquín Almunia, the European Commissioner in charge of state aid

Molly meets Mr Joaquín Almunia, the European Commissioner in charge of state aid

Green MEP for the South West, Molly Scott Cato, has reacted with fury to the news that the EU is set to approve billions of pounds of public funding for Hinkley C, the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation [1]. Today she met Mr Joaquín Almunia, the European Commissioner in charge of state aid to hand him a letter, stating how ‘shocked and disturbed’ she is that concerns raised over the deal have been ignored.

For several months, the EU has been investigating whether the Hinkley C deal is in breach of EU competition and state aid rules. Greens have always maintained that the contract with EDF, offering a strike price for its electricity of £92.50 per MWh – roughly twice the current wholesale price of power – as well as state credit guarantee of £10bn, are illegal state aids which breach European market rules.

Responding to the news, Molly Scott Cato said:

“A decision like this demonstrates why so many British people are sceptical about the EU. The rules on fair competition are perfectly clear but can apparently be ignored when there is a political deal to be made. Agreeing such a huge implicit subsidy for Hinkley will make it impossible for those who generate electricity in a clean and sustainable way to compete. It will destroy thousands of potential jobs in the renewables sector and set back South West innovation in the energies of the future.”

In the letter handed to Mr Almunia today, Dr Scott Cato demands a full justification for the decision to approve the deal and calls for the Commission to make public the full evidence on which the judgment was based [2]. She urges constituents in the South West to write to Mr Almunia to express their shock and disappointment, asking him to think again [3].

The deal will still require approval from the outgoing EU commissioners, which includes several nuclear sceptics. Greens and a cross-party group of MEPs are now campaigning hard for the contract between the UK government and EDF to be dropped. As well as contravening EU rules, Greens in the Parliament argue the deal threatens the EUs sustainability objectives.

Notes

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/22/hinkley-point-nuclear-reactor-gains-eu-approval

[2] Letter handed to Mr Almunia: https://db.tt/maSWUTf4

 [3] Contact details for Mr Joaquín Almunia, European commissioner in charge of state aid: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/almunia/contact/commissioner/form_en.htm

 For more information please contact:

Andrew Bell, Media Officer to Molly Scott Cato MEP media@mollymep.org.uk 07903 932220 @aw_bell 

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