Clarifying the role of nuclear power: Paris blocks EU climate protection law


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Clarify the role of nuclear power
Paris blocks EU climate protection law

The approval of the EU countries for the climate protection directive is actually only a matter of form. Nevertheless, the item disappears from the agenda. Behind the blockade is France, which wants to prevent discrimination against nuclear power.

Contrary to expectations, there is initially no green light from the EU countries for a central climate protection law. The vote at ambassador level on the so-called renewable energy directive planned for Wednesday has been taken off the agenda, said a spokesman for the responsible Swedish Council Presidency. Several EU diplomats said that France, among others, did not agree to the planned law for tactical reasons. At the end of March, negotiators from the European Parliament and the EU countries agreed on a compromise for more energy from renewable sources. According to this, in 2030 42.5 percent of the energy consumed in the EU must come from renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydroelectric power.

The agreement at the end of March also defined targets for specific areas such as industry, transport and buildings. Above all, the industrial specifications had been a long struggle between the proponents and opponents of nuclear power. France, among others, is committed to this technology, while it is viewed critically by countries such as Germany and Austria.

The compromise stipulates that hydrogen used by industry must come from 42 percent renewable sources by 2030 and 60 percent by 2035. However, countries that consume particularly low levels of hydrogen from fossil fuels such as oil and gas and meet renewables deployment targets can replace 20 percent of their share of renewable hydrogen with hydrogen from other energy sources, including nuclear power.

“It’s the Wissing move again”

An EU diplomat said France now wants technical adjustments to the project to ensure nuclear power is not discriminated against and to ensure it can be used to produce industrial hydrogen. France is not questioning the Renewable Energy Directive per se.

The blockade of the new rules that have already been negotiated reminds many other EU diplomats of the approach taken by Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing on the EU ban on internal combustion engines. “It’s the Wissing move again,” said an EU diplomat to the dpa. He was alluding to additional demands from the federal government and above all from the FDP for an agreement between negotiators in the European Parliament and the EU states. The background to this was the decision that from 2035 onwards only new cars that do not emit any greenhouse gases during operation may be sold in the EU. In fact, the acceptance of laws after negotiators have found a compromise is considered a formality.

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