MEPs demand nuclear subsidy investigation

Parliament's Green group calls for state aid rules on atomic energy, end to renewable funding limits

The European Commission should investigate public subsidies to nuclear power generators and exempt renewable energies from funding restrictions, the European Parliament's Green group of MEPs has urged. In a letter to competition commissioner Mario Monti, the group said it was "iniquitous" that one and not the other was subject to EU controls.

The group says subsidies to the nuclear industry are currently unrestricted by EU treaty rules, but that electricity liberalisation means the Commission should be scrutinising them in the same way as other energy industries such as coal. It said the Commission should pay particular attention to indirect subsidies such as the civil liability guarantee, which it said was "effectively free accident cover."

The letter was sent ahead of a meeting with member state officials in Brussels today to discuss state aids for environmental protection. The Commission is due to propose a revised set of guidelines by June. The Greens claim these will include "unnecessary restrictions" on the state support for renewable energy projects. Green group co-president Heidi Hautala said the controls were "wrong in any case, but even worse when the state aids being granted to nuclear power are being completely ignored by the Commission."

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111; Green/EFA Group, tel: +32 2 284 5683.

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