EC president calls for nuclear to be considered

11 January 2007

The President of the European Commission (EC), Jose Manuel Barroso, has suggested that the European Union (EU) should consider an increase in nuclear’s share of its electricity production as part of an energy policy that will cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

Speaking at the closure of the Conferência DN meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, on 30 October, he said that “for those that want it, there is nuclear energy. It is for the Member States, not the Commission, to decide on whether they use nuclear energy. But the Community can make a contribution to those that want, for example on research and on safety. We cannot hide from the issue. A debate on nuclear energy in Europe should not be taboo.” He said “we must place the different elements of energy policy into a single, wider context. We must create a truly comprehensive and integrated strategy, covering all aspects of energy policy.”

Barroso said the EC would present a roadmap for energy policy in January that will include nuclear power for those who want it. He said he hoped the measure would be adopted by member states during 2007. Barroso said that the aim of a comprehensive package of energy measures announced by the EC is “to accelerate the change of Europe to a low carbon economy. We must aim to substantially increase, over time, the amount of zero or low carbon energy we use in Europe.”

During his speech, Barroso also described the idea of maintaining "27 separate European mini markets" in energy as: "Absurd and dangerous, given the global changes already underway in this field.”

He said that “a quiet revolution is taking place across Europe: the recognition of the need for a common, integrated energy policy.” He added that the “European Commission has taken the initiative. Our energy Green Paper, endorsed by Europe’s leaders at their Spring Summit in March this year, set out the overall approach.” Barroso said that “it started from first principles: that the European Union needs an integrated, European Energy Policy that maintains Europe’s competitiveness, safeguards our environmental objectives and ensures our security of supply.”

The European Commission reported last week that the EU will meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8% under 1990 levels by 2020, with some countries significantly exceeding their individual limits.

Further information

European Commission

Jose Manual Barroso’s statement in full

WNA's Global Warming - the science information paper
WNA's Policy Responses to Global Warming information paper