The Magazine for Asian Investors
The sustainability debate about the inclusion of nuclear power and natural gas shows again how differently the different member states think. The EU is undoubtedly risky, artificially kept alive construct of different cultures. That now a new debate about the inclusion of reliable energy sources like nuclear power and natural gas is making such waves is so far a farce because in principle each member country can choose its own energy mix, but of course, this is not purely about energy but in the end again about the financial issues that are being argued here.
In 2019, the EU member states, EU Commission, and participating organizations agreed on a first version of the so-called “taxonomy” which primarily includes only wind and solar power. Now it is the case that some member states, such as France, get 70% of their energy from nuclear power, which is undoubtedly the most reliable and cleanest way of energy production. Therefore, the argument for the inclusion of this type of energy production in the taxonomy can be understood. After the topic of coal-fired power was completely deleted, but countries like Germany produce predominantly with coal, Germany, for example, sees itself forced into a corner. The plan to rely on natural gas sounds more environmentally friendly than coal, but also here a lot of CO2 is emitted and in the long run, this will also come under criticism. In addition, there is a large group of anti-nuclear activists in the country, which forces politicians to speak out against nuclear power. It is clear that voters have priority here. On the other hand, Germany has already invested massively in solar and wind power, and of course, wants these to continue to be classified as the only clean energy sources to continue to attract attractive investor capital.
Italy, for example, has already turned its back completely on nuclear power in the 90s. At the moment, however, it produces mainly with gas and coal. The so-called “green” energies represent a fraction of the energy mix with about 6%. About 16% has to be imported from France or Switzerland, which in turn produce with nuclear power. This seems to have become a common tool in the EU. Politicians get votes by testifying against nuclear power on the other hand they import it from neighboring countries.
That the EU Commission stands behind its proposal could already be foreseen since the statement of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “We also need a stable source, nuclear energy, and in the transition, of course, natural gas”.
EU member states have until Jan. 12 to consider the draft. Passing it can only be prevented if at least 20 EU states representing at least 65 percent of the total EU population join forces. Austria and Luxembourg have announced their intention to sue, but it will be difficult to imagine a successful outcome.
In the end, both types of energy will probably be included in order to satisfy both industrial giants, Germany and France. It is also difficult to imagine that the EU would oppose France in its plan. Political peace between the EU’s driving forces will be sought in the end.