New German govt faces tough challenge in French nuclear power push for the EU – media
The plans of French President Emmanuel Macron to make nuclear power a pillar of the EU’s decarbonisation strategy pose a “political nightmare” for the next German government, Michael Sauga and Markus Becker write in news magazine Der Spiegel. In a recent talk with Macron and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, incoming German chancellor Olaf Scholz from the Social Democrats (SPD) stated that he has always been opposed to nuclear power. Scholz stressed his view doesn’t differ much from that of the Green Party, which traces its foundation back to Germany’s anti-nuclear movement in the 1980s. Even though this clear statement might have delayed plans by the EU to declare nuclear as a sustainable technology in its upcoming taxonomy, France may ultimately prevail in the debate between the EU’s two largest member states, the authors write. “Macron’s plan to help controversial nuclear energy land a comeback may not only put a strain on Franco-German relations but also fuel a conflict within the new coalition” between the SPD, the Greens and the Free Democrats, they argue. France and Germany have been arguing over the inclusion of nuclear power and natural gas, which the SPD regards as a ‘bridge technology’ in the energy transition, since planning for an EU taxonomy to define sustainable financial investments began.
France has also a group of several European countries to support its bid for nuclear energy. Green EU politician Sven Giegold, who will become state secretary in Germany’s new climate ministry, warned that the country’s new government and France must urgently debate future EU energy policy rather than start their relationship with a conflict over nuclear. “That’s the only way the coalition’s ambitious European agenda stands a chance,” Giegold said.