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EU news: Germany hits out at bloc’s nuclear plans and makes dig at ‘loud’ France | World | News

Angela Merkel says she will ‘miss Emmanuel Macron’

In a joint statement issued by the environment ministers of Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal, the signatories warn that including nuclear energy in the taxonomy would permanently damage the latter’s “integrity, credibility and therefore its usefulness”. Speaking at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Thursday, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said the EU must avoid labelling nuclear energy as “green”.

The Minister said: “We don’t want nuclear energy, we don’t consider it sustainable, and we don’t want the EU to support it either.”

The German position on this is clear, and “we are not the only ones who see it that way,” Schulze said. According to her, no decision has been made on nuclear, “even if France is currently putting forward its interests very loudly”.

According to Schulze, nuclear power is not a solution in the fight against climate change, because it takes too long to build.

Ms Schulze said: “Building nuclear power plants are far too expensive and take far too long for climate protection.”

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France and Germany have very different views on nuclear energy (Image: Getty)

Power plant

The use of nuclear energy goes against the EU’s green policy (Image: Getty)

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to boost French nuclear power interests as part of his presidential election campaign.

France, which already has some 56 nuclear reactors, had previously vowed to reduce its reliance on nuclear power to 50 percent by 2035 – down from 75 percent at present.

However, soaring gas and oil prices have seen a recommitment to nuclear power.

But the German approach considered both the environmental and security issues surrounding an ever-expanding European nuclear portfolio.

Clean energy

COP26 has sought to persuade nations to consider ‘green energy’ (Image: Getty)

Ms Schulze argued: “Suppose we decided to go back to nuclear power after all. You find a community that wants a nuclear power plant, you apply for the permits, you open up a major social conflict and then you build – there we are after 2045 until the thing is up.”

She added: “That does nothing for the climate.”

The Minister then reminded audiences why Germany had decided to phase out nuclear power.

Warning of past events, she said: “There were two major accidents, Chernobyl and Fukushima. We made a conscious decision not to do that anymore because it’s too dangerous in a densely populated country like Germany.”

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Macron

Mr Macron has pushed for more nuclear plants in France (Image: Getty)

The European Commission has long faced a dilemma on whether to include nuclear energy within its soon-to-be-published sustainable-finance taxonomy rules, which will clarify what is and isn’t a green investment.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in October that nuclear power could be a stable source of energy during the transition away from reliance on gas.

Her comments raised expectations that nuclear power might be included in the green finance rules.

Russian gas supplies have been running low over the last few months seeing several EU nations struggling for energy.

Threats have now been received that Belarus will cut off gas supplies to Europe over an ongoing security situation concerning migrants on the Poland – Belarus border.

The EU has stated that sanctions will be placed on the nation should the situation continue.

Chernobyl

The German minister reminded why nuclear energy is not safe (Image: Getty)

Speaking of the crisis and issuing the threat, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko did not hold back on this rhetoric.

The Belarussian premier said: “We are heating Europe, they are still threatening us that they will close the border. And if we shut off natural gas there?”

He continued: “Therefore, I would recommend that the Polish leadership, Lithuanians and other headless people think before speaking,” he was cited as saying.

Europe’s gas market, where prices have hit record highs in recent weeks, would be highly sensitive to any interruption in the flow of Russian gas via Belarus.

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