Lazy eyes listen
A squabble between Paris and Berlin over nuclear energy and combustion engine vehicle policies has cast a pall over an upcoming EU summit on Ukraine, Politico reported on Monday, citing multiple sources.
The impasse between Germany and France, according to the outlet, is expected to disrupt a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday, where officials are expected to discuss economic competitiveness as well as ammunition deliveries to Kiev.
The latest spat began when Germany attempted to mount a late blockade of the EU’s zero-emissions legislation, which includes a ban on the sale of polluting cars and vans by 2035. Berlin wants a specific exemption for e-fuels, which are a synthetic alternative to fossil fuels that benefit the German automotive industry. However, Berlin’s demand has already been rejected twice in the European Parliament, when member states refused to support a binding exemption for such fuels last year.
Germany’s attempts to stymie the adoption of EU clean tech legislation have enraged France, which is now attempting to include a nuclear energy exemption in the bloc’s green rules. According to two diplomats familiar with the matter, Paris wants to include a reference in the EU summit conclusions emphasizing the importance of nuclear power for EU industry decarbonization.
This has sparked opposition in Berlin, where the nuclear-skeptic government has committed to completely phase out nuclear energy, with the last remaining nuclear power plants set to close next month.
Germany has previously lobbied the European Commission to reduce nuclear power’s role under the Net Zero Industry Act, the latest draft of which was presented last week. France was outraged by the decision and is now demanding that nuclear-based hydrogen play a larger role in the EU’s renewable energy goals.
According to three sources who spoke to Politico, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stated that he would like to resolve the issue before Thursday’s summit to avoid it becoming a larger political discussion among leaders.
The upcoming summit is expected to focus on finalizing a €2 billion agreement to replenish Ukraine’s dwindling ammunition supplies while replenishing the bloc’s own stocks. The plan was first proposed by EU top diplomat Josep Borrell and was approved by EU foreign and defense ministers on Monday.