Today the EU Parliament is voting on the Commission’s controversial proposal for a green seal for nuclear power and gas. The outcome is completely open — the debate rages on.
One day before the eagerly awaited vote, the responsible EU Commissioner, Maired McGuinness, once again emphatically promoted her plan in the European Parliament: a green seal for nuclear power and gas. In view of the uncertain times, the Commission’s proposal is realistic and pragmatic, she said.
However, the Commission’s idea of classifying investments in nuclear reactors or gas-fired power plants as sustainable under certain conditions is highly controversial in the EU. But it will not be easy for the opponents to stop this so-called taxonomy regulation. In the European Parliament, at least 353 of the 705 MEPs would have to vote against it. For a long time it was considered unlikely that this absolute majority would come together. In the meantime, however, the mood has changed somewhat.
Close voting result expected
Today there is a close result, believes Bas Eickhout from the Greens, who has been fighting against the green seal for nuclear power and gas for a long time. He thinks, for example, that you would help Russia if you declared gas as sustainable.
«In essence, we are promoting investments in Russian gas, while not counting alternatives such as investments in LNG terminals, for example. So this clearly shows that this proposal was written before the war and that is another reason why it should be rejected.»
Europe’s Greens and Left want to reject the proposal, Social Democrats and Christian Democrats are divided. In the group of the European People’s Party, opinions differ even among German MPs. Markus Ferber from the CSU accuses the Commission of having compiled this legal act not according to scientific, but political criteria.
«To put it bluntly: Investors who want to make green investments do not want to finance nuclear power plants or gas-fired power plants. That is why such a taxonomy cannot work. So we have a standard that was not thought up according to scientific criteria and that is of no use to the market participants, and that is why I will reject it.»
Means in the fight against energy prices?
His parliamentary colleague Markus Pieper from the CDU, on the other hand, supports the Commission’s proposal.
«Taxonomy now means that energy suppliers who want to invest in new power plants are supported by private capital markets. If we don’t award this label now, it will be extremely expensive for energy suppliers to build new gas-fired power plants, including new pipelines. That then impacts energy prices — and that’s exactly what we can’t afford at the moment.»
Should the green seal for gas and nuclear power fail in Parliament, it would be a clear defeat for Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. They could then come up with a new plan or withdraw the idea altogether. If, on the other hand, she has a majority on her side, that might not be the last word. Austria and Luxembourg have already threatened to sue.