EU calls subsidy for energy from gas and nuclear power plants 'sustainable'

The European Commission has labeled investments in gas-fired power plants and nuclear power plants as 'sustainable'. Under further conditions, such energy sources will thus continue to be eligible for European and national subsidies for the next fifteen years.

The decision has already been rejected by some EU countries, including the Netherlands. In addition, Austria and Luxembourg have announced that they will go to the European Court to challenge this decision. EU experts and European groups have already opposed it because Brussels does not keep to its own agreements about a cleaner environment and less global warming.

These parties base themselves on the scientific conclusions that new investments in fossil fuels are taboo (in order to achieve the Paris Agreement). They also emphasize the dangers of nuclear waste and nuclear power plants for the environment.

The Netherlands has informed the European Commission that it opposes plans to classify investments in natural gas as a green project, but that it will accept the approval of nuclear energy subject to certain restrictions. The EU countries can only stop the decision if more than 20 of the 27 countries reject it. A majority of the European Parliament can also block this taxonomy classification.

France is a staunch supporter of more investment in nuclear energy to combat ('environmentally polluting') gas-fired power stations, while Germany has decided to close all ('dangerous') nuclear power stations. The Eastern European countries do want gas-fired power stations, so that they can close their outdated ('even more polluting') coal-fired power stations.

The Dutch MEP Paul Tang (PvdA) negotiated with other political groups about the controversial taxonomy for sustainable investments. “The European Commission makes a fool of the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the cabinet's last attempt to convince Brussels has failed. The cabinet must now be consistent and exercise their voting rights to sweep this proposal off the table.”

The Social Democrats in the European Parliament have already strongly opposed this proposal. They don't want to classify gas and fossils as green, but as 'orange'. Paul Tang: “We also don't want 'green' subsidies to go to gas-fired power stations that only slow down the transition, not accelerate it. That could happen within the current proposal.”

“The European Commission is making a deep dent in the credibility of the EU as a climate leader,” said GroenLinks MEP Bas Eickhout. “At the climate summit in Glasgow, cautious steps were taken towards phasing out fossil fuels. Now the European Commission is turning back the clock. With this decision, the credibility of the EU as a global climate leader takes a huge blow.”