EU nuclear deal will hit renewables

Guardian letter

Published 8th October 2014

This letter was published on the day the outgoing EU Commission made a decision in favour of the financial deal on Hinkley nuclear power station.  It was signed by Molly and four other Green MEPs.

Today (8 October) the 28-strong outgoing European commission will make a decision on the Hinkley C financial deal, with far-reaching consequences both for the integrity of decision-making in Europe and for the future of European energy policy (Conflict of interest concerns over EDF’s Hinkley nuclear project approval, 1 October).

In December 2013, the commission raised doubts on almost all aspects of the project, finding the state credit guarantee of £10bn for EDF “incompatible under EU state aid rules”. So why is competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia, backed by former EU president José Manuel Barroso, recommending the commission give the deal the green light? Could it be that the German federal government has been involved in a backroom deal?

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has previously achieved exemptions from EU subsidy rules for Germany’s ambitious renewable energy plans. The legislation behind this, which provides feed-in incentives for renewable energy technologies, is helping transform energy generation away from fossil fuels and nuclear; renewables now account for around 30% of Germany’s electricity.

However, in return for these subsidy exemptions, Merkel is rumoured to have agreed to support British nuclear subsidies. So, while the Berlin government is decommissioning its own nuclear power plants and turning to renewables, it is at the same time undermining nuclear phase-out across the rest of Europe. Greens in the European parliament urge departing commissioners to hold fast to their principled opposition to this extremely dodgy deal and set all of Europe, not just Germany, on course for an energy policy for the common good.

Molly Scott Cato Green MEP
Rebecca Harms Green MEP
Claude Turmes Green MEP
Benedek Jávor Green MEP
Michèle Rivasi Green MEP