It had to be decided before the end of the year. During the European Council of 21 and 22 October, the European heads of state and government urged the Commission to decide, by the end of November, on the fate of nuclear and gas in the taxonomy, this classification economic activities according to their CO emissions2 and their consequences on the environment. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the community executive, had promised that it would be done before their next meeting, scheduled for December 16.
At a time when Europeans have decided to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050, where dependence on Russian gas is worrying, and energy prices are soaring, this is a crucial issue.
In the end, it did not. The former minister of Angela Merkel, who manages the file directly with Paris and Berlin since she was jostled by the Twenty-Seven, has indeed continued to postpone her arbitration, which is now expected for january. It should finalize its proposal by December 30, in order to submit it (for simple opinion), as the procedure requires, to a group of experts. And, if all goes as planned, the Commission will present its project on January 18.
The Brussels decision will depend on the capacity of the nuclear and gas sectors to finance their future investments. At a time when Europeans have decided to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 in accordance with the Paris agreement, when dependence on Russian gas is increasingly worrying, and when energy prices are soaring, it is this is a crucial issue.
“We are very close to finalizing our work on [la taxonomie], which will include both gas and nuclear ”, said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton in an interview with the German daily The world, December 17. On the main lines, “Political arbitration is stopped”, abounds a diplomat. It seems, in fact, acquired that the atom will be considered as a green energy and the gas as an energy of transition. But under certain conditions, which still have to be fixed and which are akin to a real Chinese puzzle for Ursula von der Leyen.
A strategic affair for France
Taxonomy, “It’s a very small subject”, wanted to minimize Olaf Scholz, during a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron, at the end of the European Council of December 16. The German Chancellor told one of his interlocutors that he did not “Don’t bother Emmanuel with that”. The French president, for his part, has been maneuvering for months to defend the cause of nuclear power, relentlessly arguing that this is cheap, low-carbon and stable energy, which is precious in these time to fight against global warming and soaring energy prices. For France, which is preparing to renew its nuclear fleet, the business is strategic.
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