Sunday

23rd Jul 2017

French EU energy blueprint wins friends

  • Just 12 percent of citizens say the EU should develop nuclear power options (Photo: Luxembourg EU Presidency)

Future EU energy policy could be based on boosting nuclear power and oil and gas stocks as well as research into new fuels in line with a French blueprint, but most EU citizens don't want nuclear power a new Eurobarometer survey shows.

Paris presented the plan to EU energy ministers in Brussels on Tuesday (24 January) with energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs saying "It's very much in line with what we are thinking about" for the commission's March green paper.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He advised other countries to draft plans similar to the French ideas, adding "I didn't see anything that is not acceptable" in Paris' proposals.

The French text calls for the EU to "consider the contribution of nuclear power to the security of supply and the fight against climate change" while urging Brussels to seek better relations with major oil and gas producers such as Russia and the Middle East oil cartel, OPEC.

The text also advises the EU to coordinate information on national oil reserves and to diversify gas supply routes while leaving ultimate control of energy resources in the hands of member states.

But the bulk of the paper lists detailed ideas on how Europe can cut energy consumption in transport and industry while spending more on research into solar and wind power as well as biofuels.

People want clean energy at no extra cost

The French proposals strike a jarring note with European public opinion however, with just 12 percent of people saying the EU should develop nuclear power options in a Eurobarometer survey out the same day.

In France, the pro-nuclear figure was just 8 percent, while most respondents across Europe said they would prefer Europe to push for more solar and wind power and to spend cash on research into new fuels instead.

On average 47 percent believed energy action should be taken at EU level, but most people in the UK and Finland thought their own governments could handle the problems best.

A majority said they are conscious of energy issues when buying light bulbs, cars and fridges and plan to reduce consumption, but over 50 percent stated they are unwilling to pay more for new fuel types.

Mr Piebalgs admitted that public opinion has limited value in expert level planning, saying "one opinion poll does not shape all our policy."

European weaknesses

The energy commissioner stressed that the EU is "very vulnerable" to supply crunches in the gas sector, saying that not just Russia but also major European suppliers Algeria and Norway could one day cut deliveries due to political or environmental problems.

But he was defiant on Iran's threats to cut oil supplies to world markets if the EU and US pursue sanctions against its nuclear programme via the UN Security Council.

"If there would be disruption of supply, the IEA [International Energy Agency] would call for the release of energy reserves as in the reaction to Hurricane Katrina last year," he indicated.

IEA oil analyst Lawrence Eagles told EUobserver that OECD countries currently hold 1.5 billion barrels of oil in reserve compared to Iran's daily output of 2.6 million barrels.

The energy commissioner also stated that, while energy policy is shooting up the commission's foreign policy agenda, it will not threaten other objectives on human rights.

"I don't believe it [energy policy] is made on a compromise basis but on additional basis," he said.

Eastern European diplomats painted a starker picture of reality however, saying it is "obvious" that if it comes to choosing between human rights and access to natural resources in EU-Russia relations, the "business is business" mentality kicks in every time.

Greece to get €7.7bn loan next week

The ESM, the eurozone emergency fund, agreed on Friday to unblock a new tranche of aid as part of the bailout programme agreed upon in 2015.

EU and Japan agree on free trade

Japanese prime minister and EU leaders to endorse major trade deal on Thursday in anti-protectionist message to Trump.

EU and Japan closing in on trade deal

[Updated] The EU and Japan edge closer to securing a free trade deal on Thursday, ahead of the G20 summit at the end of the week where US protectionism will be an issue.

Opinion

Greece needs a new plan

Two years into its third bailout, Greece needs to combine the necessary fiscal targets with a new vision. This can be done in the context of the ongoing industrial revolution.

Opinion

Ceta and pesticides: A citizens' rights issue

The trade agreement with Canada will begin to apply on 21 September. But there is still a potential conflict on the right to data protection vs. the right to access information.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary