28 Jul 2023, 16:50
Core EU members must come to terms on energy strategy to achieve clean supply security

Nuclear, gas, renewables: What powers the EU's 'Franco-German engine' in the future?

The European Union faces a multitude of parallel challenges that share the question of how and where it sources its energy in the future as their key aspect. From the increasing urgency to act on emissions reduction over security risks raised by Russia's war on Ukraine to economic stability in a world of rapid industrial change, the two core EU members must come clean on the bloc's energy strategy to make it fit for the tasks ahead. At a time when headlines about Europe's 'Franco-German engine' are dominated by division over the role of nuclear plants, renewables and combustion engines, Clean Energy Wire has set out on a cross-border cooperation project in France and Germany to understand what is causing this strategic gap - and what it takes to ensure the pair can drive the bloc forward on its path to climate neutrality.

Franco-German push for EU green industrial revival needs close alignment to succeed

The European Union’s two largest economic and industrial leaders, Germany and France, have spearheaded efforts to put the EU ahead in the global scramble for green industry leadership and decarbonisation technologies. Despite differences in how they produce energy, both Berlin and Paris have closed ranks in response to competition from the U.S. and China. Yet, in spite of an impressive set of goals to broaden industry cooperation, Franco-German efforts to revive European industry are being held back by unresolved differences over hydrogen production, batteries, and installation of renewable energy. The success of this endeavour cannot be ensured by a new “Airbus” or other isolated EU projects alone but requires close alignment of the two countries’ path towards industrial decarbonisation, experts from both countries agree. Read the article here.

IPCEI: Germany and France bet on joint EU platform for sustainable industry

The EU’s ‘Important Projects of Common European Interest’ (IPCEI) scheme is one of the bloc’s key instruments for transforming its economy in the name of climate neutrality. The EU’s two largest economies, Germany and France, are among the states most eager to enter into multinational partnerships and revive or kickstart sustainable industries by making use of eased state aid rules and strategic cooperation for future technologies. Despite significant differences in other energy and climate policies, Paris and Berlin hope that the IPCEI will serve to boost the domestic production of batteries, hydrogen, and renewable power installations as a platform for their future competitiveness. Read the factsheet here.

A shared challenge: Attitudes about climate action in France and Germany

Concerns over the impacts of climate change and demand for mitigation policy are high in France and Germany alike, which is hardly surprising given their geographic proximity and similar economic structure. However, the French and the Germans differ in their preferred approaches to climate action and their willingness to trust various actors to implement it. Parties in both countries are exploiting an underlying pushback against climate action and undermining consensus to act. Read the factsheet here.

Lingering nuclear dissent between Paris and Berlin obstacle for EU renewables push

Differing views on the place of nuclear power in Europe have dominated public perceptions of energy policy cooperation between France and Germany for years. Given the urgent need to agree on European energy policy strategies in light of the recent energy crisis and the increasing pressure to prepare the economy for climate neutrality, governments in Paris and Berlin must find a compromise in order to allow the EU to move on despite glaring differences among its most influential members. While experts warn that the pair “may never agree” on nuclear, both need to face the technical and economic challenges that come with reconciling Germany’s vision of a fully renewables-based EU with France’s unwavering support for low-carbon nuclear energy. Read the article here.

How Germany’s and France’s climate policies and greenhouse gas emissions compare

Germany and France are the most populous countries in the EU and also the bloc's largest energy consumers. While France boast much lower energy sector emissions than the EU's top emitter Germany, both struggle to meet national and European greenhouse gas reduction targets. The two countries have been leading in formulating EU energy and climate policy and are pivotal to sustaining a coherent European position in international negotiations. This factsheet provides an overview of both countries' national emissions reduction policies and their approaches to meet joint European policy landmarks.
Read the factsheet here.

How energy systems and policies of Germany and France compare

Germany and France are the most populous countries in the EU and also the bloc's largest energy consumers. The neighbours therefore wield enormous influence over EU energy policy and are pivotal to implementing a sustainable transformation of the European energy system. This factsheet provides an overview of both' countries' national energy systems and their approaches to meet joint European policy landmarks. Read the factsheet here.

French and German energy discrepancies hamper joint EU climate strategy

The two most influential members of the EU, Germany and France, agree on the urgent need to jointly decarbonise Europe’s energy system and put supply security on a safer footing after the tumultuous energy crisis year 2022. Russia’s war on Ukraine has forced both Paris and Berlin to come clean on the contradictions in their national energy strategies and spell out how Europe can achieve its ambitious climate targets. For key EU projects such as the Green Deal to succeed, the dispute about fundamentals of future energy supply at the height of the energy crisis must mark a turning point in the 'Franco-German engine’s’ energy cooperation, many citizens, policymakers and government officials agree. But concepts in Berlin and Paris for how to arrive there suffer from dependencies on two different paths taken in another energy crisis some 50 years earlier - and which now prevent the pair from formulating a joint vision for the EU. Read the article here.

Interview: French-German energy policy rift puts EU’s climate lead at risk - bilateral energy transition expert

As the two largest economies in the European Union, France and Germany, for at least a decade have acted as the bloc’s key drivers of more ambitious climate action. A glaring gap in the two countries’ energy policy has been exposed in the European energy crisis that threatens to weaken this crucial axis for the success of EU climate policy, says the head of the bilateral Franco-German Office for the Energy Transition, Sven Rösner. Despite the notorious disputes between Paris and Berlin, shared goals and challenges in climate and industrial policy far outweigh the divisions, he argues - and that small changes in cooperation across the board are more important than for Europe's energy future than aiming for a ‘big bang’ treaty. Read the interview here.

Interview: France and Germany “agree on 90 percent” of energy issues, must close ranks - French energy researcher

The role of nuclear power within Europe’s energy transition is a clear point of contention between Paris and Berlin. However, there is much more agreement between the EU’s two largest powers on major strategic priorities, including the need for expanding renewable power sources or energy transition technologies like battery or hydrogen production. According to Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, director of the EU Programme at the Paris-based Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE), the debate over Europe’s energy future should focus more on common ground instead of disputes and underline the EU's ideal of “unity in diversity.” Read the interview here.

Blogpost: Nuclear, gas, renewables - What will power the EU's 'Franco-German engine' in the future?

In a Franco-German journalist collaboration project, Clean Energy Wire has set out to explore the state of this European key partnership regarding climate and energy policy – and what it means for the plans of the EU as a whole. Find out what has motivated use to go beyond our coverage of the ups and downs in Germany’s energy transition to shed light on how well it chimes with developments across the Rhine River in this blogpost.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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