The joint letter addressed to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Executive vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioner for Financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union Mairead McGuinness and Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson was signed by the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš, President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Romania Florin Cîțu, Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Igor Matovič and Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Janez Janša.
The joint letter is an “urgent call to ensure a true level-playing field for nuclear power in the EU without excluding it from EU climate and energy policies and incentives, bearing in mind that half of EU countries utilize or develop nuclear power providing close to half of EU low-emission generation”. The leaders call on the European Commission “to ensure that the EU energy and climate policy accommodates all paths to climate neutrality according to the technology neutrality principle. In this context, all available and future zero and low-emission technologies have to be treated equally within all policies, including taxonomy of sustainable investments, aiming at achieving climate neutrality by 2050”.
In the letter, seven state leaders underline that “all available zero and low-emission technologies that contribute to climate neutrality while supporting other energy policy objectives should not only be recognized but also actively supported by the European Union”. They stress that nuclear power development is one of the primary objectives of the Euratom Treaty, obliging EU institutions to promote it and that the European Commission in its state aid decisions recognized the development of nuclear power as an objective of common interest, even though it may not be pursued by all Member States. They also refer to the recent judgment on the Hinkley Point C project, which confirmed that nuclear energy may benefit from State aid and that nuclear energy does not compromise the environmental objectives of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
The leaders of Czechia, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia point out that “the development of nuclear sector in the EU is contested by a number of Member States despite its indispensable contribution to fighting climate change, as well as the breadth of yet unexploited synergies between the nuclear and renewable technologies. As low-emission baseload, it guarantees the continued renewable deployment to much higher penetration levels. Nuclear power seems to be also a very promising source of low-carbon hydrogen at an affordable price and can play an important role in energy sector integration. It also generates a considerable number of stable, quality jobs, which will be important in the post-COVID recession”.
In the letter, they also express their concern that “the Member State’s right to choose between different energy sources and the right to determine the general structure of the energy supply (Article 194 TFEU) is currently heavily limited by EU policy making, which excludes nuclear power from more and more policies.” The leaders also underline that “concentrating on technologies to be commercially applicable post 2050 as well as decommissioning activities and safety enhancements without an appropriate framework for nuclear new build could gradually phase out nuclear power and existing nuclear technologies, which will result in a significant loss of high quality jobs in many European countries”.
March 19, 2021