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EU electricity market reform at a standstill due to the nuclear energy conflict

17 September 2023

The European Parliament gave the green light for the start of negotiations with the EU Council for the reform of the Union’s electricity market. However, the Council’s activity is currently blocked, due to disagreements, mainly between Germany and France, regarding the financing of nuclear energy, reports the media platform European Newsroom (enr) in the substantive article published on Friday.

With a reform of the European electricity market, MEPs want to better protect consumers against price fluctuations. Citizens should have the right to fixed price contracts as well as dynamic price contracts, according to the European Parliament’s negotiating position, adopted on Thursday in Strasbourg. Consumers should also receive more information about the options available.

The basis of the parliamentary position was a legislative proposal of the European Commission from March. In mid-July, the European Parliament’s Industry and Energy Committee modified the proposal – by severely limiting subsidies for the nuclear industry – in preparation for discussions with member states to finalize the text. This mandate was approved on Thursday by MEPs (366 votes for, 186 against, 18 abstentions). This position in the parliamentary committee could have been approved without a plenary vote, unless at least 71 elected members expressly opposed it. This is exactly what happened, however, resulting in an official vote without the possibility of amendments, according to Agerpres.

The protest was led by members of the EPP (France) and Renew delegations, who believed that the text was too restrictive on nuclear plants’ access to government-guaranteed price mechanisms and risked jeopardizing the “major overhaul” of the “nuclear fleet” french. Renew’s Slovenian, Romanian and Czech liberal MPs joined forces with the European centre-right conservatives and reformists (ECR) and radical left MEPs. They could not prevent the adoption of the text, which remained unchanged.

With the reform of the electricity market, the European Commission wants to avoid an explosion of prices for consumers and promote the expansion of renewable energies. According to the proposal, long-term contracts for the production of electricity from renewable energies and nuclear energy must be promoted in particular.

However, there is still no common position among EU countries. According to EU diplomats, there have been fears in the past that the French nuclear industry could be disproportionately favored. Until now, Germany and France have been at odds with each other.


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